New Albums Online: Chicago Day 3 & Fall In Scarborough

Using my new monitor processed another batch of photos. All of the photos were converted from RAW to Jpeg using Bibble Pro 4.9 trial software. I think this software is defenitely worth buying, but one should understand that it is not perfect at all. Firstly it is slow, even though my PC is old enough (3.5 years) it should be able to process those RAW files faster using two Xeon 2.66Ghz CPUs. Any operation in Bibble requires a few seconds to restore preview to a full preview resolution. Some tools are absolutely inadequate like the White Balance tool which should have “Auto” preset, which is lacking currently. Using White Balance correction is very difficult to get proper skin tones. But otherwise default “Camera” white balance produces good results.

So take a look at newly processed photos from September 18, 2006 – Chicago Day 2:

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and photos of the nature from last week Fall In Scarborough:

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All new Dell 2407FPW Monitor

My friends will prove this, I was dreaming of a new monitor for a very long time. The I started dreaming since the moment I saw the monitor that my wedding photographer Michael at that time it was Dell 2405FPW and I was quite impressed with what I saw. Photos taken by Digital SLR camera look Grand on such monitor. Meantime Dell has released a replacement model 2407FPW. Meantime crazy Dell’s “Days Of Deals” were passing by me whole summer with Katia not letting me to buy a new monitor, until recently when I finally decided that my old Viewsonic VX900 is no longer up to job after 4.5 years of “heavy” use (bought in June 2002). After a brief visit to Red Flag Deals I found out that there is 25% discount on the monitor of my dreams, I found a coupon on the forums and bought myself this new “gadget”. This time however, I did a research post-factum and found out that the monitor has extreme banding problem, i.e. a color gradient does not look smooth on screen and has distinct bands. A bit more research on Dell forums and it became apparent that the latest revision A03 is much better or problem is completely gone according to other accounts. So I waited till the moment I get this new Beast of the screen estate and check it out myself. So yesterday I got the monitor and late in the evening I got it connected to my MSI GeForce 6800 128Mb AGP Video card using provided DVI cable. In preparation to the new monitor I downloaded quite a few monitor testing programs and PNG images. Once connected I fired each of them one after another… what was a disappointment – banding was present and was more then obvious. I even started researching if I can return it to Dell and buy a new BenQ 24″ FP241W monitor. Finally before making a final decision I’ve booted my trusted Kubuntu 6.06. Loaded Eclipse IDE – what a beauty so much screen space, played full screen with Qt 4.2 Demos and as afterthought decided to create a gradient in Gimp. Wow, no banding… I was shocked and verified result with different colors – same result no banding. I’ve headed to the WinXP folder mounted in Linux and ran those same monitor test utilities using Wine.
Confirmed – Dell 2407FPW Revision A03 does not have banding problem.
What a pleasant surprise! So all the problem people experience with A03 are coming from the old evil – Microsoft Windows XP and its color management systems. Now I’m relieved, I will keep this sun-bright giant as my monitor and enjoy some of the pleasant bonuses such as built-in flash card reader and 4 port USB hub. In addition to that I was ultra lucky and my monitor has not a single dead or semi-dead pixel, those that looked like them were easily fixed with “Dust-Off” compressed air duster.

Alesha’s new Super computer

Gone are the days when you had to spend thousands of dollars on a descent PC, no longer do you need to rob the bank to get a new LCD monitor. So two weeks ago on a beautiful Saturday morning a friend of mine Alesha poped up at my place to enjoy one of the most interesting things geeks can do – assemble a new PC. A few days prior to the event we went to the nearest CanadaComputers store and got most of the needed parts (the rest are from Etobicoke TigerDirect store). So what is the modern budget PC with a price less then $1000 Canadian?

Case: Antec Sontata II with 450W “Silent” Power supply [129$]
CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 65Watt 3800+ Socket AM2 [185$]
RAM: 2Gb (2×1024) OCZ Gold DDRII 667Mhz RAM [184$]
Motherboard: MSI K9N Platinum (nVidia 570 Chipset) [117$]
Video: eVGA GeForce 7600GT KO 256Mb PCI-E [185$]
HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 320Gb SATA2 [119$]
DVD: Lite-On SHM-165H6S 16x DVD-/+RW DVD-RAM LightScribe [54$]

All this well under $1000 Canadian Dollars or to be exact $973!

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A truly silent monster I wish I had myself, though personally I still prefer the Apple iMac Core 2 Duo 20-24″ beauty.