Why Not Use DNG?

January 9, 2010

Adobe DNG LogoI read an interesting article on Adobe’s Digital Negative (DNG) format on Scott Kelby’s Lightroom Killer Tips blog here. I’m surprised that DNG has not become more widely adopted and disappointed (but not surprised) that more camera manufacturers have not supported/adopted it. I don’t think camera manufacturers should be competing with proprietary file formats. If I were them I’d be like Leica and get out of the software business entirely.

I made the following comment on the article:

I have been using DNG almost since it was released by Adobe. Initially I was cautious. After all, what if Adobe is acquired, goes out of business or decides that DNG isn’t “strategic” any more? But since Adobe opened the DNG specification I figured that even if they do abandon it there will always be software around that supports it.A while ago I did some tests where I used Adobe Camera Raw on an original RAW image and then with the same settings on an equivalent DNG file. The images were bit-for-bit identical.

But the thing that really convinced me that DNG is rock solid is that both Leica adopted it as their RAW format for the M8, M9 and X1. If it is good enough for Leica it is surely good enough for me.

I hope that manufacturers like Canon and Nikon will adopt it, but it does not seem likely.

Tim Tams – My Favourite Biscuit

January 9, 2010

Back when I lived in England my favourite chocolate biscuits were Penguins. They were hardly available in America so I used to load-up on packets when I went home.

Penguins aren’t sold here but I found something very similar: Tim Tams. They are from Australia. To me the milk chocolate variety is identical to the Penguins I remember. I bet there are biscuit enthusiasts who can tell the difference.

I was interested to see that they sell two varieties of Tim Tams in Thailand:

Two types of Tim Tam Biscuits

Two types of Tim Tam Biscuits

The top blue packet is made in Australia and costs 108B for a 200g packet. That’s about US$3.25. The bottom brown 120g packet is made in Indonesia and costs 32B – about US$1. They are “developed especially for the South East Asia Market. Not for sale in Australia or New Zealand“.

The cheaper biscuits don’t come in the same varieties as the originals, but they taste just as good to me.

You can guess which ones I buy. Of course my local supermarket displays the expensive packets on a shelf at eye-level and the South-East Asia ones near the floor.

This is a similar strategy to the International Edition of textbooks that I wrote about last December. Maybe with food products there are regulations that would prevent me from practising Tim Tam arbitrage and exporting them to Australia and New Zealand.

But if you like Tim Tams and you’re in a South East Asian Country, grab the cheaper packets!

Most Popular Post – Nikon P7000 Rumours

January 8, 2010

I’m surprised to see how popular this post is. It says very little other than to point to the Nikon Rumours site. I guess by some chance it got high in search engine rankings. (Which proves that automatic search engines aren’t very intelligent.)

Most Popular Post

Click for a Full-Sized Graph

I published the post in September 2009 and there’s still no sign of the camera: a replacement for the Nikon Coolpix P6000.

Even the rumour mill has dried up. When and if Nikon replace the P6000 I’ll write about it here.

Hard to Read – Thai Numerals

January 8, 2010

Along with having its own alphabet that’s used for the national language Thailand also has its own symbols for numeric digits. They are not used much in normal communication or commerce – the Western system is much more common.

Here are the digits from zero to nine:


Note the tiny difference between the “4” and the “5”.

I’ve found two major uses for the Thai numerals:

  1. Price lists where the business owner wants to conceal that Westerners pay a different (invariably higher) price from Thai people.
  2. The registration (licence) plates for military vehicles.

Here’s an example of (1):

Dual Pricing at Pangsida National Park

Dual Pricing at Pangsida National Park

This the sign at the entrance to Pang Sida National Park in Sa Kaeo Province. Thai adults pay 40 Baht to enter the park, children pay 20 Baht. Foreign adults pay 200 Baht and children 100 Baht.

And an example of (2):

Thai Military Police Toyota Camry

Thai Military Police Toyota Camry

The registration is “2335” :  ‘๒๓๓๕’ in Thai numerals.

In both cases the main reason seems to be obscurity rather than tradition.

See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thai_numerals.

Storing Data in the Cloud Has Drawbacks

January 7, 2010

See http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2010/01/ftc-reminds-us-that-storing-data-in-the-cloud-has-drawbacks.ars


It’s not news to an old-timer like me who’s suspicious of all Internet services – especially “free” ones. See for example the posts on Google Public DNS and Google Wave. In the latter I list (most of) the Google services I use.

FTC LogoThe US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) document is at http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020352132.

Of course, as no less a person than Eric Schmidt says:

“If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”

That statement gave me the chills – but it is also a wake-up call to users worldwide. The amplification he gave is factually correct.

“But if you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines, including Google, do retain this information for some time. And […] we’re all subject, in the US, to the Patriot Act, and it is possible that that information could be made available to the authorities.”

His apparent assumption that people only require privacy if they are doing something scandalous or illegal is mind-boggling.

There are two types of information that I will keep in the cloud:

  1. Encrypted information where I hold the key.
  2. Information that I don’t mind if it gets plastered over the front pages of the New York Times and the Bangkok Post.

Anything else is held in encrypted storage using a tool that I trust: TrueCrypt.

More Picapp Pictures of the King of Thailand

January 7, 2010

I posted a number of pictures of the King of Thailand and the Royal Family that I found on Picapp at https://bkkphotographer.wordpress.com/2009/11/09/picapp-pictures-of-the-thai-royal-family/.

It’s been one of the most popular posts on this blog.

Here are some more, focusing on His Majesty the King. They are ordered approximately from oldest to newest. Unfortunately there is a big jump in the Picapp archives from the 1960s until 2006.

I copied the captions from the photos verbatim. They are not consistent about the spelling of the King’s name. Often they use the old name of Thailand: Siam.

You can look for more pictures yourself. Go to http://www.picapp.com/ and enter a search string like “Thailand King”. You do not need to register.

Picapp / Getty are now asserting a 2010 copyright for the pictures. Surely that’s not correct? The copyright date is the date the picture was taken or first published isn’t it? It doesn’t update as the years go by!
[picapp align=”left” wrap=”false” link=”term=Thailand+King&iid=3772683″ src=”8/0/6/1/Thai_Royalty_670a.jpg?adImageId=8817915&imageId=3772683″ width=”433″ height=”594″ /]
King Bhumibol of Thailand with his fiancee, Sirikit, in Lausanne, where the King is a student, 13th September 1949. (Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
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30 Photographic Goals for 2010

January 7, 2010

2010 Photography Goals

I thought this list on the Digital Photography School site was excellent. See http://digital-photography-school.com/30-photographic-goals-for-2010.

I don’t know that I’ll try all of them and some I do already but Christina Dickson’s list is thought-provoking nonetheless.

Bangkok Flooded – Again!

January 6, 2010

Bangkok Rainy Afternoon from the Apartment

If it’s any consolation to the Europeans and North Americans freezing in snow and ice – we had a rain storm in Bangkok this afternoon. It poured like it was monsoon season. All the sois around my apartment are flooded and I can’t go and buy groceries until the water goes down. The storm drains in this neighbourhood cannot keep up and they’ve become clogged with stuff in the cool, dry season.

See also https://bkkphotographer.wordpress.com/2009/09/12/deluge-in-bangkok-city-flooded/

Everytrail to Pattaya

January 6, 2010

I made an Everytrail version of my railway journey from Bangkok to Pattaya on New Year’s Day.

You can view the trip at http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=458559. I also embedded a slide show on my Google Pages site at http://sites.google.com/site/thebkkphotographer/home/by-train-to-pattaya. It’s below the PicasaWeb slideshow.

I stopped using Everytrail because it does not import my pictures from Picasa Web Albums as it says it is doing. It links to them. That means as I delete old albums to make way for new ones my Everytrail trips lose their pictures.

EveryTrail Import Selected=

EveryTrail Import Selected Photos

I won’t delete this album from Picasa Web.

Everytrail has improved its user interface since I last used it. I think it is a great idea. I think it is hard for them to make money other than with Google ads. Maybe the business plan is for somebody to buy them.

EveryTrail Pattaya Trip

EveryTrail Pattaya Trip

Nexus One Not Available in Thailand

January 6, 2010

Google are promoting the Nexus One phone for direct sale on the web. I was not surprised to see that it is not available in Thailand. Unfortunately tech companies see Thailand as a low priority.

Nexus One Not in Thailand

Nexus One Not in Thailand

It is available without service in the US, UK, Singapore and Hong Kong.

I don’t doubt the phone will show up in a few days at the popular spots for grey-market imports: MBK Center and Panthip Plaza.