My 3 day saga with the “compulsory” Windows 10 Anniversary Update

Written by admin on September 26th, 2016

I run Windows 10 on two computers – a 128Gb laptop with only 5Gb free hard disc space (“small device”) and a desktop computer.

Microsoft has taken a leaf out of Apple’s book and made their OS updates practically compulsory on the grounds that you will not have adequate software security if you are not running the latest updates.

All very well, but although I am not sure how big the “compulsory” update downloads are, I do know that on my very slow ADSL-1 internet service, the downloads seemed to take priority over all my internet bandwidth, effectively leaving me without internet access all weekend, unless I temporarily aborted the download by rebooting the computer – but this would only delay the inevitable and would prevent me getting further smaller security updates.

And no, Microsoft didn’t seem to think it would be smart to offer users an option of only downloading one version and then re-using it on all computers – no each computer has to download its own version.

Eventually, the download completed on the desktop computer and after much time running through the install process and then more time waiting after you first log on for it all to finish – it at least seems to be working well.

Now the “small device saga”:

Finally the download finished on my laptop and after much time initialising the install gave a fail error of “not enough disk space – need more than 5Gb of hard disc space”.

I freed up a little more tried again and it again failed with not enough space so after noting the option to select an external drive, I then freed up space on my micro SD card and selected that drive.

I started the update yet again, and all went well ….. until … the computer rebooted ….

Failure to run update with an SD card!

I was then presented with a black screen with the Samsung logo and an error message “Please insert external drive then press OK” and a circular rotating waiting icon.

All very sensible except that the micro SD card is already in the laptop and has not been removed and the keyboard and mouse was now effectively disabled – no way to hit the OK button. I ejected the SD card and re-inserted but still nothing happened – so I waited an hour or so just in case it was busy doing something behind the scenes … but eventually my patience gave out and I hit reboot.

Reboot took me to exactly the same scenario as above forcing me to reboot again.

This time, thankfully it decided that it would restore the old version of Windows and after much time, it did this without issue.

In desperation, I decided to get heavy handed with my disc clean up and copied program folders for Delphi XE to a back up drive then deleted those folders temporarily so I now temporarily had > 15Gb free space.

To be sure, I disabled my antivirus software.

At last, the update ran to completion and my laptop was working – but now there was no space to restore those important program files.

I thought I would try to be smart and copy the Windows.old folders to an external drive before deleting it – this seemed to work until the last 1% of files refused to copy due to insufficient rights despite me being admin and attempts to re-try – eventually I gave up on this concept of insurance.

So, I ran system cleanup (right click on C: drive, select Properties then Disk Cleanup, then System Files and once it has analysed this, you choose Windows previous version and temporary install files – knowing that once these are deleted, there is no going back to your old version.

But I needed space, so once the above was completed, I restored my program folders by copying them back from the external backup drive and now my laptop seems to be running as before.

I am not sure I need any of the added software functionality, but at least now I can get ongoing security updates.

For some reason Delphi XE no longer opens – I get an Out of System Resources – oh well, my beloved Delphi XE 6 software is still running fine so all is not lost.

Thanks Microsoft for many hours of my life being wasted.

ps… not all good ….

My v4.50 of TMS Software TadvSmoothGauge VCL control now causes an “Invalid Floating Point Operation” when an app with this control runs in Win 10 Anniversary Edition – the same app runs fine in older versions of Windows.

Looks like I now need to fork out more money for a new version of this software package to resolve the issue as changing regional settings in Windows didn’t help.

Ebay checkout now is not working in the updated Microsoft Edge browser – gives error code 70245.

 

Oh yes, and Canon announced a new mirrorless camera – the Canon EOS-M5

Written by admin on September 21st, 2016

Apologies for the delay in posting about this camera given I have a huge collection of Canon pro gear, but in comparison to the Olympus E-M1 Mark II announcement, this camera is so under-whelming, but guess that is what we now expect from Canon.

Yep, sure, it is Canon’s best mirrorless camera but that isn’t saying much!

Oh well, here goes the specs for those die hard Canon users who think it may be useful, although on specs it probably should be better compared to the original budget level Olympus E-M10 of 2014 than a 2016 E-M1 Mark II camera as here:

Olympus OM-D E-M1 II Canon EOS M5
Price at Amazon.com  $US $US1099?
sensor 20mp 2x crop 24mp 1.6x crop
Weight 574g, weathersealed, freezeproof, WiFi remote
427g WiFi remote
Size 134 x 91 x 67 mm 115.6 x 89.2 x 60.6 mm
image stabilisation sensor based 5 axis 5EV + 6.5EV Sync IS lens 2-4 EV OIS in stills, “digital IS” in movies
Shutter speed range 60sec -1/8000th (1/32,000th electronic)
30sec-1/4000th
Flash x-sync 1/250th sec, slow sync, 19 output levels manual
1/200th, ?no slow sync, 3 levels manual
exposure compensation range and AE bracketing ±5 EV AE bracketing ±5 (2, 3, 5, 7 frames at 1/3 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV steps)
+/- 3EV (+/- 2EV bracketing)
EVF 2.35mdot, eye sensor auto switching, 120fps, 6ms reaction time
2.36mdot, 22mm eyepoint
LCD screen 1mdot articulating touch screen, AF Targeting Pad feature
1.6mdot, tilting touch sensitive
video awesome image stabilisation 4K 24/30p 236Mbps Cinema 4K quality; 4:2:2 uncompressed video directly from the HDMI port
1080HD
Burst rate 18fps with C-AF; 60fps with S-AF
7fps with C-AF, 9fps with S-AF to max 26 jpegs
Top panel dual dial + 2×2 system Yes No
AF  121pt Dual Pixel cross type CDAF/PDAF, closest eye detection AF
45pt Dual Pixel CDAF/PDAF, face detection
Hi-Res mode Yes, 50mp/25mp jpeg, 80mp RAW
No
Live BULB, Live TIME, Live Composite, 60sec timed, Live Boost EVF Yes No
Dual SD card slots Yes No
Auto HDR, Auto focus stacking, Keystone compensation Yes No
Number of dedicated CDAF  lenses > 40  5 EF-M STM (incl 1 macro)
“14-28mm” pro lens 7-14mm (14-28mm) f/2.8, 534g, 106mm long, 0.2m close focus, no filter, MF clutch, $US1299  EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM(18-36mm)
“24-70mm” pro lens 12-40mm (24-80mm) f/2.8, 382g, 84mm long, 0.2m close focus, 62mm filter, MF clutch, $US740  EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM(29-88mm)
“70-200mm” pro lens 40-150mm (80-200mm) f/2.8, 760g, 160mm long, 0.7m close focus, 72mm filter, MF clutch, $US1399, opt. 1.4x converter  EF-M 55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM (88-320mm)
“50mm” standard prime lens 25mm (50mm) f/1.8, 136g, 41mm long, 0.24m close focus, 46mm filter, $US349 (also other options such as Oly 25mm f/1.2)  EF-M 22mm f/2 STM (no OIS!) (36mm)

Nice camera if they introduced it in 2011, but well behind the scene now.

But at least they haven’t given up on the mirrorless system like Nikon has done with their Nikon 1 system.

 

Elinchrom announces an Olympus version of their Skyport HS studio remote flash transmitter

Written by admin on September 21st, 2016

Elinchrom announced this week an Olympus compatible Micro Four Thirds version of the EL-Skyport Plus HS remote studio flash controller.

Transmitter allows manual power output control of up to 10 Elinchrom lights over 20 channels in 5 groups with ability to use manual exposure High Speed Sync to 1/8000th sec as well as their OverDrive Sync (ODS) which allows up to 2 stops more light at higher shutter speeds above the x-sync.

Units will cost $US249.

 

At last, radio TTL remote flash coming to Micro Four Thirds – PocketWizard FlexTT5 for Panasonic

Written by admin on September 21st, 2016

One area where Micro Four Thirds users have been seriously neglected is in radio TTL remote flash capability.

Micro Four Thirds users have had to settle for either light-based line-of-sight TTL remote flash, or non-TTL radio remote flash.

A big player in third party radio TTL remote flash technology is PocketWizard who have had their FlexTT5 units available in either Canon, Nikon or Sony versions for several years now.

This week PocketWizard have announced a Micro Four Thirds version – albeit at this stage only compatible with Panasonic GH4 camera in combination with either a Panasonic DMW-FL360L or DMW-FL580L flash but will support radio remote HSS TTL as well as normal remote radio TTL mode and their proprietary Hypersync non-TTL mode.

These units thankfully are firmware upgradeable, and they do intend adding support for other cameras and flashes, and there is no physical reason why this could not be extended to Olympus cameras and flashes given they use the same hotshoe pins (although Olympus has an additional power supply pin now which would be ignored by this units without issue) and essentially the same TTL technologies.

The units will cost $US186 per unit or $US299 for a pair (you need one for the camera and a receiver for the flash).

 

 

 

New 2.5x macro lens from Olympus – the Olympus mZD 30mm f/3.5 macro

Written by admin on September 21st, 2016

In addition to the brilliant new OM-D E-M1 mark II and the 2 new PRO level lenses announced at Photokina this week, Olympus also announced a new “PREMIUM” level but affordable macro lens for Micro Four Thirds which is a world 1st being able to shoot as low as 2.5x macro (in 35mm full frame terms) and still be able to shoot subjects at infinity with fast AF.

The lens is very light and compact at only 128 g (4.5oz) and 57mm long (2.24″) and having a small 46mm filter thread.

It thus is also well suited to underwater work and for this it is compatible with certain Olympus housings  and lens ports (PT-EP13 (E-M5 Mark II), PT-EP10 (for the E-PL6/E-PL5), PT-EP11 (for the E-M1)) as well as having a couple of its own dedicated underwater accessories – PPZR-EP07 focus gear, Antireflective Ring POSR-EP11.

AF is said to be 20-30% faster than its previous Olympus macro lens, the weathersealed Olympus mZD 60mm macro lens,  and is designated MSC – silent and smooth AF and aperture for movies.

The close focus is down to 9.5cm with a working distance of 14mm in front of the lens giving a field of 13.9 x 10.9mm which is able to reveal subjects the unaided eye cannot see.

It has 7 circular blades for nice out of focus rendering when stopped down.

It appears that it is not weathersealed but users will mainly use this for controlled environments indoors out of the wind, or in an underwater housing.

RRP is $US299.

PPZR-EP07 Underwater focus gear

Underwater Antireflective Ring POSR-EP11

As reviews are posted I will link them on my wiki page for this lens.

 

Olympus announce new flagship Micro Four Thirds camera – OM-D EM-1 Mark II and 2 new pro lenses

Written by admin on September 20th, 2016

Olympus used Photokina to announce their new flagship professional model Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera – the E-M1 Mark II which they say improves upon the original model in nearly every aspect and leap frogs above APS-C cameras in terms of speed and value to the photographer.

I must say the specs to blow away the newly announced Canon EOS M5 mirrorless camera even if you don’t consider the amazing range of dedicated fast AF lenses available for Micro Four Thirds.

Specifications:

  • FASTER, MORE ACCURATE BURST MODE
    • 18fps full size RAW with C-AF
    • 60fps full size RAW with locked S-AF
    • 2x more buffer capacity
    • 3x faster internal write speed
    • 50% faster start up time from camera switch on
  • PDAF area coverage now 81% greater than in Mark I, now covers ~80% of each frame dimension, up from 60%
  • 3.3x more AF points – all 121 PDAF AF points are now cross-type and offer DUAL FAST AF with PDAF and CDAF which are used in every shooting mode.
  • new AF algorithm for much better subject tracking as well as in detecting subject from background even when background is close and of similar colour and texture
  • new “AF Cluster Display” can display the AF points being used to track the subject in real time
  • new “PRO Capture” can start capturing images as soon as you start to depress shutter and up to you depress shutter fully allowing lag free pre-capture of 14 RAW frames to reduce chance of missing a precise moment
  • new electronic viewfinder with faster 120 fps refresh rate and shorter 6msec reaction time giving crisp and smooth vision giving 60% faster response rate
  • as with Mark I, it is dustproof, splashproof and freezeproof with similar form factor
  • reliability improvements:
    • new battery compartment
    • new battery is longer lasting and charges faster
    • improved grip which is more secure and offers better handling
    • at last we get dual SD card slots and UHS compatibility
  • image quality:
    • new 20Mp live MOS sensor with low power consumption and higher speed data read out and improved dynamic range and noise performance of 1 f stop better noise
    • TruePic VIII double quad core image processor
    • re-developed image stabilisation system now gives 5 axis Sync IS at up to 6.5EV stabilisation!
    • 50mp HiRes shot with image blur of moving subject prevented using TruePic processor
      • presumably no longer need tripod in this mode!
      • should be awesome for high resolution tripod product shots with less moire than with dSLRs
    • 4K video up to 30P and Cinema 4K at 237Mbps quality
  • optional accessories include:
    • HLD-9 / AC-5 battery holder grip with keypad for use in either landscape or portrait orientation
    • RM-CB2 remote cable
    • FL-900R weather sealed flash with GN 58 and compatible with 10fps sequential shooting
    • STF Twin Flash for macro and 1st of kind to be weathersealed
    • PT-EP14 underwater case
    • improved Olympus PRO Service
      • next day delivery replacement unit for professionals if they choose additional paid Advanced or Elite level of service in selected countries
      • default Standard Plus level of service applies to all registered users
      • video hotline to help resolve issues before sending camera to repair

New PRO lenses:

Olympus mZD 25mm f/1.2 PRO

  • wide aperture standard lens for shallower depth of field and lovely bokeh as well as for low light work
  • weathersealed
  • manual focus clutch?
  • RRP $US1199?
  • see my wiki page for more details

Olympus mZD 12-100mm f/4 IS PRO

  • 1st ever travel professional grade 8.3x zoom lens covering 24-200mm in full frame terms at constant wide aperture of f/4
  • optical IS for Sync IS at up to 6.5EV IS with the E-M1 MkII
  • weathersealed
  • manual focus clutch
  • close focus to 15cm adds macro capability
  • RRP $US1299?
  • see my wiki page for more details

 

Photokina 2016 press event video

Okay, I am impressed – at last on paper – now for the reviews – I will post links to these on my wiki page as they are available.

 

 

One week in South Korea – Part 5 – Seoraksan National Park

Written by admin on September 5th, 2016

Seoraksan National Park is a beautiful mountainous park dominated by rugged granite peaks and maple gullies amongst cyprus forests only 15 minutes drive from the coastal resort town of Sokcho on the north-eastern coast of South Korea.

One should take care with mosquitoes as there apparently is a small risk of mosquito-borne Japanese encephalitis virus and even malaria according to WHO, but the more dangerous animals such as tigers and bears are now extinct from most of South Korea including in this region.

Sokcho is a 3-4 hour bus ride from Seoul depending upon traffic conditions.

These images were taken with Micro Four Thirds cameras – the Olympus OM-D E-M1 and E-M5 with the Olympus mZD 40-150mm f/2.8 and Olympus mZD 7-14mm f/2.8 lenses.

We only had one day in our itinerary to hike in the park and that one day coincided with almost constant heavy rain which absolutely soaked not only my active wear but also my Olympus E-M1 with 40-150mm f/2.8 lens and its lovely rain protective lens hood which fortunately are highly water resistant and did not suffer any ill effect from the constant rain over a 5 hour period – unlike my friend’s “water-resistant” Garmin watch we failed permanently half way due to the rain.

The hike we chose was to the rugged granite peaks which was some 11km and 5hrs return in the rain with seemingly thousands of steps and a total ascent of over 600m to the ~1200m altitude peak which overlooked the Sokcho valley in the very brief intervals where the clouds parted and we could see what was below us.

The scenery so reminded me of Japanese ink sketches that I decided to post-process these images in that style.

The peaks which we were to climb up as seen from the Seoul-Sokcho bus.

At the start of the walk is a Buddhist Temple which provided for some very nice imagery:

Whilst at this temple we took pity on a very keen Canikon elderly Korean man who was trying in vain to get some shots of this temple with his camera on a tripod wrapped in towels to keep the camera dry as well as trying to hold an umbrella in the wind – unfortunately for him he did not choose a weatherproof camera and lens with image stabilisation such as we had with our Olympus gear, and so we helped him out by holding his umbrella so he could get his shot.

As we start our walk alongside a fast flowing stream, we walk over some nice old bridges:

and then perhaps half way up our ascent we arrive at a remote old Buddhist temple built into the mountain side:

a tourist wet and tired and its only a third of the ascent work down:

Perhaps at this point I should have said a few prayers because the ascent from here on became very steep indeed but gave very rewarding vignettes dominated by these beautiful trees amongst the peaks:

and now ascent into the clouds:



and finally to the peak – the hiker and his umbrella – as we found – no match for the strong up-draught winds hurtling upwards and playing havoc with the umbrellas:

The price to pay for these beautiful sights was 3 days of very painful calf muscles but thankfully, we did not trip and fall in the wet, slippery conditions.

After the hike, an incredibly kind young Korean lady who worked in a park cafe finally worked out what we were trying to ask her – “where is the local thermal spas?” and she offered to drive us there as the cafe had closed and so we made it to the thermal spa baths which were in another valley – but to our naive surprise they were authentic Oriental style baths which banned all forms of clothing – so when in Rome ….

 

One week in South Korea – Part 4 – Seoul by day

Written by admin on September 5th, 2016

Seoul is an interesting city to walk around the various neighborhoods, and unfortunately we did not get time to visit more palaces or other interesting sights such as the Seoul Tower, the wall around the city, etc.

So this gives me incentive to head back there another time to continue my explorations.

These images were taken with Micro Four Thirds cameras – the Olympus OM-D E-M1 and E-M5 with the Olympus mZD 40-150mm f/2.8 and Olympus mZD 7-14mm f/2.8 lenses.

cityscape

From the top of a building

Quintessential Seoul urban streetscape.

The old and the new – traditional Korean residences with the Seoul Tower in the background.


Korean gate

Gate on one of the traditional residences.

The far majority of tourists in Seoul are Asian – Caucasians are a rare sight indeed!

graffiti

Seoul is generally a very clean city at least on the surface and has very little graffiti – but I did manage to find some in a remote alley way.

and some minimalistic graffiti in a shopping area laneway.

another gate to a residence

The locals dressing up in hired traditional costumes for a day of taking pics in the streets.

 

One week in South Korea – part 3 – Seoul at night

Written by admin on September 3rd, 2016

Seoul in August is a wonderful balmy warm and seemingly safe city to explore at night as long as you take reasonable care and respect the locals who rarely like being photographed unless they are doing it themselves – the number of young Koreans walking around taking selfies as they walk is quite disturbing for safety reasons alone – luckily there is no Pokemon Go in South Korea (due to military security concerns with Google street view imagery – although there is a small area in Sokcho where it is possible).

I had no safety concerns carrying my cameras and even having them visible on the subway trains at night – something I would be reluctant to do in my own city of Melbourne !

Usually when I walk streets at night I carry discrete wide aperture lenses on my compact Micro Four Thirds cameras (OM-D E-M1 and E-M5) which allow low light photography and allow the camera to be quickly returned to a jacket pocket – for example the Panasonic 20mm f/1.8 pancake lens and the Olympus mZD 12mm f/2.0. In Seoul, I decided to ditch the 12mm lens and use the larger Olympus mZD 7-14mm f/2.8 for greater versatility.

The most popular districts to explore are Itaewon, Hongdae and ultra-modern Dongaemun.

Itaewon

Itaewon is where the US Military tend to congregate at bars and clubs, and thus is the main district for Caucasian tourists – although the night we went there, there were very few of either and it was mainly the local Koreans, and in the back alleys you did need to keep your eye out for opportunistic predators although we did not see any aggression or criminal activity even to 1-2am.

We enjoyed an awesome, albeit, expensive, authentic Korean BBQ in one of the side street cafes, then headed off to some of the bars for some cultural exchanges.

Back alleys of Itaewon where there were a few dodgy people.

Dongaemun

Dongaemun is a popular night precinct for shoppers with lots of street shops, shopping plazas, market and the ultra-modern Dongaemun Design Plaza (DDP).

DDP

DDP

DDP

Ceiling mobiles display in DDP.


DDP

Dongdaemun Design Plaza and the newly opened shopping plaza in the background right.

Helping out the locals with their selfie sticks.

Street stalls

A market which unfortunately had largely closed by the time we arrived at 10pm

A market mobile karaoke lady with her doll who was keen to pose for me.

The famous mung bean pancakes in the market – we were surprised to find a busy cafe behind this stall where we enjoyed our pancake with the local Koreans.

This was a signal to call it a night – perhaps too much soju?

Just managed to catch the last train on the subway – a rare deserted platform but we made it back to our hotel!

Hongdae

Hongdae is a Korean university student night precinct with many bars, clubs and shops, lots of intoxicated young Korean adults and few older adults while there were signs banning US military fro entering clubs due to potential conflicts, and the clubs seem to have an age cut off of 38 years, so no entry for an old guy like me but again, despite the flow of alcohol, there was no overt aggression or criminal activity evident and we felt safe walking the streets and there were plenty of taxis near by to take us back to the hotel (as long as you had the name and address of the hotel in Korean!). I took very few photos here but we did find a quiet late night bar for a dart throwing competition at 2am which finished the day off nicely.

street alcohol vendor for the students

Street alcohol vendor for the students (the vendor refused to allow his photo but did allow this shot).

Back alleyway.

Hongdae bar

Older style Hongdae bar.

This club security guy politely refused entry to the club for my travel buddy who was devastated as apparently now too old to go clubbing!

Not only older folk are banned from the clubs but also the US Military! Korean prevention is the best medicine!

Hongdae street bar.

Finally found a quiet bar where we could relax, talk and play some darts.

 

 

One week in South Korea – part 2 – The Secret Garden

Written by admin on September 2nd, 2016

sunrise from my hotel room

My first sunrise in Seoul – from my hotel room using the Olympus mZD 7-14mm f/2.8 ultra-wide angle zoom lens

Our first morning in Seoul was a hot 34degC partly sunny, humid day with little wind as we headed off to a guided tour of The Secret Garden in Changdeokgung Palace – a lovely relaxing walk with plenty of shade and beautiful little vistas.

The local Koreans seem to love to hire traditional apparel and wander the palace grounds and taking selfies, and on some I was asked to assist and others I asked them for permission to take an even better shot with a proper camera and lens – my trusty Olympus OM-D E-M1 Micro Four Thirds camera mated with the Olympus mZD 40-150mm f/2.8 lens while I also carried a E-M5 with Olympus mZD 7-14mm f/2.8 ultra-wide angle zoom lens for the occasional wider perspectives.

It was a great introduction to Korean culture, although unfortunately much of these palace structures were severely damaged during the early 20th century Japanese occupation.

As I mentioned in my last post, the Korean people I met were lovely, quiet, generous, respectful and honest looking people with no evidence of pick pocketers, violence or aggression.



Out of a population of 50 million, there are apparently only some 130,000 muslim people, and these are nearly all foreigners.

A modern Korean lady on the garden tour.

Yours truly helping out a couple of ladies with their “selfie” shots.

Of course there are hundreds of shots one can achieve of the gardens and palaces which I will not post here apart from these:

My crazy tour buddy!