Now.Desired: Sony RX100

Now.Desired: Sony RX100

Large sensors and optimal lenses are integral to producing sharp and vivid photographs. Until a few years ago, DSLR cameras were the only way to capture photographs that were truly “professional.” The professional point and shoot and mirrorless micro four thirds market empowers photographers to take DSLR quality photographs without the heft and bulk of a DSLR camera.

Until just recently, the Canon S100 has been the best compact professional camera. The S100 sports a large 12.1 megapixel CMOS sensor, Canon’s latest DIGIC 5 processor, a super-fast f/2.0-5.9 24-120mm built in lens, ISO up to 6400, and 1920 x 1080p HD video. Despite a spec sheet comparable to most entry-level DSLRs, the S100 is the size of a deck of cards and easily pocketable, making it a professional photographer’s ideal “carry around” camera.

Watch out Canon! It appears the S100 now has a fierce competitor: the Sony RX100. With a larger 1″ 20.2 megapixel CMOS sensor, a Carl Zeiss f/1.8-4.9 28-100mm lens, ISO up to 6400, and 1920 x 1080p HD video, the Sony RX100 outperforms many intro DSLRs. This powerhouse shoots at 10 frames per second (at 20.2 megapixels) and can stitch together a sweep panorama in seconds.

While the RX100’s features match Sony’s mirrorless NEX line, it’s size and pocketability makes it the absolute best anytime compact professional camera. Camera Labs says the “RX100 looks like a winner with a big sensor and bright lens squeezed into a body that’s remarkably close to Canon’s PowerShot S100 in size.” After their hands-on review, the Verge called it the “best all-around compact camera I’ve even seen.”

At a price tag of $649, the RX100 is comparable in price to many intro DSLRs and even Sony’s NEX line. Because the RX100 sacrifices the flexibility of interchangeable lenses for compactness and portability, a new photographer might want to consider a mirrorless camera or a DSLR in that $649 price range if portability is not of utmost importance.

Professional photographers looking for a secondary pocketable camera for when they don’t want to carry their heavy DSLRs should look no further than the Sony RX100.

[Image and info via Sony]

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Tech.News: Zynga’s Stock is Crashing on Bad Earnings

Tech.News: Zynga's Stock is Crashing on Bad Earnings

Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) missed their predicted earnings of $343.1 million leading to a stock free-fall of 40% this morning. The miss has also dragged down Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) more than 5%. Facebook is expected to release earnings after the bell today.

With Zynga’s miss and Facebook’s IPO issues, Social Media and Internet Tech is starting to look like a fad. Zynga’s stock is down more than 67% since its IPO in December.

[Image via Forbes]

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Now.Desired: Nifty MiniDrive

Now.Desired: Nifty MiniDrive

The Nifty MiniDrive is a fully funded Kickstarter project that can easily increase the memory of your Macbook. With Apple’s switch to flash memory, the prices of higher capacity drives have made Macbooks with more storage expensive. Consequently, many people feel digitally cramped.

The Nifty MiniDrive is a tiny SD adapter that works with micro SD cards and fits flush in the SD slot of your Macbook Air, Pro, or Retina. Not only is the MiniDrive made with reinforced gold plated connections, it also has a nice aluminum finish on the outer edge to match the aluminum of your Mac. Although the MiniDrive is completely flush when inserted into your computer, it can be easily removed using a bent paper clip. The Kickstarter project will survey all backers at a later date to figure out exactly which model of the Nifty MiniDrive you want for your computer.

Because the Nifty MiniDrive is just an adapter, it’s future proof. As the prices of flash memory fall, it will become easier to purchase larger micro SD cards to use with your Mac. Currently, the largest and most reliable micro SD card is the 64GB SanDisk Mobile Ultra with a read speed up to 30 MB/s. These tend to sell for about $70 on Amazon. In a year or so, SanDisk will release larger micro SD cards which can easily be swapped into your MiniDrive.

Overall, the Nifty MiniDrive looks like a great and cost effective way to increase the storage capacity of your Macbook.

[Image and project via Kickstarter]

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Tech.Fun: Ringtones!

Tech.Fun: Skrillex Voltage Ringtone for Download

I love making ringtones for my iPhone so I figured, why not share them with everyone! Here are some links to my ringtones. Some of them grow louder so they don’t disrupt people immediately. They also make handy alarms in the morning to wake up a bit easier. I also threw a couple text-tones into the mix.

The links are already in .m4r iTunes ringtone format. Enjoy!

Skrillex-Voltage [grow]
Glicklich-Logic 119
Glicklich-122 [grow]
Dubvision-All By Myself
Avicii-Girl Gone Wild
Avicii-Girl Gone Wild [grow]
Boys Noize-Lemonade [text tone]
She-Coloris [grow]
Skrillex-Summit [text tone]
Skrillex-Summit [text tone 2]
Skrillex-Scary Monsters
Skrillex-Trung [grow]

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Tech.Analysis: The 7 Inch iPad

Tech.Analysis: The 7 Inch iPad

Rumor has it that Apple is preparing a new, smaller sibling to the current 10 inch iPad. Reports from Chinese manufacturers to the WSJ as well as the NYT have suggested that Apple is set to begin mass production of the new iDevice this coming September for an October release date.

Google’s new Nexus 7, a 7 inch Android Jelly Bean tablet, has been selling out at major retailers this past weekend. The WSJ and PC Magazine gave the new Droid tablet favorable reviews praising the $199 entry price. At 200 bucks, the Nexus 7 matches the popular Amazon Kindle Fire.

The Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire haven’t really been direct competitors to Apple’s iPad: at more than double the price and size, comparing these 7 inch tablets to the iPad is like comparing a Smart car and a full-size SUV. The current iPad offers a larger 10 inch screen at a much higher pixel density along with other features that make it more of a mini computer than a beachside reading device. Regardless, the demand for smaller and cheaper tablets has apparently pushed Apple to consider a similarly sized and priced iPad.

The 7 inch iPad needs to be $199. Google, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble have solidified the $199 magical price point for this new class of tablets. Amazon actually loses money on each Kindle Fire sold and Google/Asus only make ~$40 on each Nexus 7. Apple might need to subsidize their product too if they want to outcompete Google and Amazon.

Because this subcategory of the tablet market is so new, it might be beneficial for Apple to hold off on producing a 7 inch iPad right now. Google and Amazon are taking a risk selling their products at such a low profit margin. It might be in Apple’s best interest to wait and see the results of Google’s Nexus 7.

[Image via 9to5Mac]

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Tech.News: Apple’s SoHo Store

Tech.News: Apple's SoHo Store

Apple’s redesigned SoHo store reopened this morning. The renovated NYC store now showcases twice as many Macs, iPhones, and iPads as well as a beautiful new theater (complete with movie theater chairs) for workshops and other Apple events. Additionally, the Genius Bar is much larger (biggest in the US?) which will hopefully make it easier to get an appointment the next time you take a dip in the pool with your iPhone.

I’ve been trying to get my hands on one of those new Macbook Pro’s for a few weeks now and I decided to try picking one up at the SoHo store today. I reasoned that, even if they were out of stock I wouldn’t leave empty handed because I’d at least get one of those cool commemorative Apple t-shirts. I headed over to the store and got on the ridiculous fanboy line. Although I’m a huge Apple fan, I’ve never actually gone to any of the store openings/product release day events because I generally don’t like waiting on line for hours to spend all my savings. I passed maybe 15 minutes playing Pocket Planes and eventually reached the line of clapping Apple employees welcoming all of us with t-shirts to the pretty extraordinary store. Immediately, I recognized a smell: the entire room smelled like a new Apple product. It was uncanny how much it reminded me of unboxing my first iPod.

I worked my way upstairs along the signature glass staircase to check out the new theater and Genius Bar, both of which were impressively large and filled with people. I wandered about and eventually picked from the myriad of blue shirted Apple employees to help me with my purchase. After a few minutes, I finally had the exact Macbook Pro I had been scouting for so long in hand! I was extremely excited that my search had finally come to a close. Smiling, I ripped out my credit card to pay, only to get declined by Visa.

It’s quite difficult to hear automated credit card instructions on Apple launch days.

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Tech.News: Google Chrome and Google Drive Coming to iOS TODAY

Tech.News: Google Chrome and Google Drive Coming to iOS TODAY

Google has announced at their I\O conference that Google Chrome and Google Drive will be coming to the iPhone and the iPad later today. Both apps are expected to have the same popular features as Google’s desktop versions as well as syncing abilities. Check out the App Store later today to download.

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Tech.News: Microsoft Surface Tablet

Tech.News: Microsoft Surface Tablet

Microsoft: You have my attention. The new Microsoft Surface tablet is actually a pretty cool device. I have been a big fan of Windows 8, except I feared that the interface wasn’t fit for a small smartphone screen and definitely not optimized for a laptop. Windows 8 is designed for tablets.I’m thrilled to see Microsoft finally building their own hardware.

There are 2 Microsoft tablets: a Windows RT ARM-chip version and a “professional” sibling sporting an Ivy Bridge i5 processor. The non-professional version is super thin (thinner than the new iPad) and the professional tablet is just slightly thicker at 13.5 mm. Both have a 10.6 inch high-definition screen comparable in pixel density to Apple’s Retina iPad screens. The Surface packs a full size USB port (USB 3.0 on the pro version) and 32 or 64 GB of memory for the RT version and 64 or 128 GB of storage on the professional tablet. The exterior casing is made of magnesium and Corning Gorilla Glass and even has a nifty kickstand.

While the specs on these two devices are right up there with Apple’s iPad, Windows 8 might be the deciding factor. Windows 8’s Metro user interface is really great; utilizing the edges of the tablet keeps tasks intuitively organized and enhances multitasking. The ability to run 2 apps next to each other is definitely one of my favorite features. Additionally, the real time, updating tile interface is a beautiful and stylish way to get all your info updated on your home screen. Windows 8 also has a desktop mode where older Windows software can run. This is a major plus for people who want the ability to run professional apps like Adobe Photoshop.

While the Surface has definitely caught my interest, my favorite announcement from Microsoft has to be the new magnetic cover for the tablet. It’s an extraordinarily thin Apple smart cover cover that integrates a multitouch trackpad and keyboard right into the case. It’s very thin, colorful, useful, and the first product I hope Apple copies from Microsoft.

Now here’s where this impressive and potentially competitive tablet may fall short: price. Microsoft has not announced anything about the pricing of either tablets. If the RT flavor is within the magical $400-$550 tablet price point, it very well could be something to watch. If Microsoft expects people to pay “ultrabook prices” for this tablet, Apple’s reigning iPad has nothing to fear.

I’m looking forward to seeing these Surfaces hit the market with Windows 8’s release.

[Image via Microsoft]

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Tech.Tips: Hiding Newsstand

Tech.Tips: Hiding Newsstand

Newsstand was a feature released in iOS 5 to collect reading apps in one place. Some people love it. Many wish they could hide it from their carefully organized springboard. Here’s a tip on how to hide unwanted app icons in iOS 5.

Apple only allows a user to keep 11 pages of apps. In order to remove an app like Newsstand that can’t be hidden in a folder, we need to fool iOS into thinking we have filled all those pages. To hide Newsstand and other app icons without Jailbreaking your iPhone or iPad, follow these steps:

Fill pages 1-10 with at least one application. In my case, I had most of my apps on the first page so I opened a folder and dragged one app to each page.

On page 11 (the last page) fill the screen with apps and place the app you wish to remove in the bottom right corner. Now, all you need to do is introduce a new app to the top of that full 11th page and Newsstand will be exiled to a nonexistent 12th page.

Although the app doesn’t show up as an icon, it will still be searchable in Spotlight and tie together with other apps. The app is hidden, not uninstalled. Unfortunately, that means if you fully restart your iPhone or iPad, Newsstand will reappear as an icon in a free space.

[Image via appleiphoneschool]

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Tech.News: Corning Willow Glass

Tech.News: Corning Willow Glass

Corning announced today a new line of ultra-thin, lightweight, and flexible glass that could change the shapes of our phones and devices.

The flexibility and thinness of the glass could allow manufactures to design “wrap around” devices with edge to edge glass and curved sides. Combining Samsung’s flexible OLED with Corning’s new Willow Glass would make for thinner and more maleable phones and tablets.

[Image via Corning]

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