photos, product endorsements

Editing PHOTOS with Pixelmator Pro

Kraig recommended this software. And I’m going to buy it. CAD $55.

Pixelmator Pro is Mac only. It supports the new (2020) M1-chip and macOS Big Sur.

Below is a Pixelmator edit of an iPhone X 4K original. I followed the official tutorials.

What you see below is a smaller version for web. But if you click on it — you’ll be able to see the full size original.

I’d long wanted to quit free Apple Photos software that comes with every Mac. Never liked it. Unfortunately Apple keeps you locked into the ecosystem. Happily, Pixelmator Pro works hand in hand with the Photos app. No conflict.

I’m also tested the Sony Imaging Edge software (horrible) and Capture One 20 Express (free). But Capture One 20 non-Express is too expensive – at least $10 / month.

I have Gimp (free) but find it pretty complicated.

This video show the fantastic interface of Pixelmator Pro.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Apple, blogs, product endorsements, video

I subscribed to Envato Elements

Of many competing services offering online digital assets, Story Blocks is most famous. And advertises the most.

But I was convinced to join instead less expensive Envato Elements US $198 / year. Both work with Final Cut Pro, my software.

They provide licensed images, audio, videos, graphics, plugins, fonts, logos, tutorials, 3D, graphic & video templates, presentation templates, infographics and much more. I’ll be including those in my videos, websites and presentations.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

One of the main things I like about using their digital resources is the simplicity of licensing. I’m much less worried that YouTube — sometime in future — might take down my YouTube due to copyright complaint.

Click PLAY or watch it on Vimeo.

related – Competitors & Alternative To Envato Elements

product endorsements

Space Heaters

Winter is coming …

Rob and Yvonne gave me their old Lasko 758000 space heater.  Works well.  I keep it beside my desk. 

Wirecutter is my favourite product review website.

On their recommendation, in addition, I got the Vornado VH5 Personal Vortex Space Heater for only CAD $46.11.

Works very well.  I keep it close to the bed. 

As of August 2020 here are the Wirecutter picks for best space heaters

The Vornado VH200 (similar to the VH5) surpassed almost every other space heater in speed and total power, delivering an immediate temperature increase that built steadily and evenly across the room over the course of an hour.

The VH200 is also quieter than most other ceramic heaters we’ve tried, emitting only a soft, fan-like whir, and it’s compact enough to tuck away in a corner.

It’s also one of the safest heaters we tested, featuring overheating and tip-over protection, and a plastic exterior that stays relatively cool to the touch—so you can warm yourself without having to worry.

The VH200 does get mixed reviews from some owners—those who find it slow to heat a particularly cold space or who have problems with the airflow from the fan—but Vornado tends to respond to critical reviews more reliably than other manufacturers do.

blogs, photos, product endorsements

WordPress.com Block Editor

38% of the web is built on WordPress.

More bloggers, small businesses, and Fortune 500 companies use WordPress than all other options combined.

All my sites are hosted on WordPress.com and I wouldn’t go anywhere else.

As a long time user, I’ve been reluctant to switch to the BLOCK EDITOR when writing these post. I stuck with the Classic Editor, as did many others.

In this post I’m again testing the BLOCK EDITOR based on a recent WordPress.TV tutorial

Column 1

Column 2

Column 3

Making rows like those above are much easier. Choosing colours easier, as well.


That line above is easy to add, as well.

One thing I like about the Block Editor is being able to more easily make a photo gallery. These images are all provided free through the Block Editor.

With the old editor I didn’t have much control over images.

Using the Block Editor I can more easily edit this image, for example.

That said — many of us feel forced by the host company to use something called the Block Editor to write posts like this rather than the Classic Editor we used in the past.

cycling, hiking, photos, product endorsements, video

UBeesize 54-inch Selfie Stick Tripod

For hiking I’m not often going to be carrying a full tripod.  Too big.  Too heavy.

But for cycling, I’ll often bring this one along.

I’ve spent hundreds of hours videotaping from tripods. But — until now — have never used one as an extended selfie stick.

Of many similar options, I got the Selfie Stick Tripod, UBeesize 51″ Extendable Tripod Stand with Bluetooth Remote for iPhone & Android Phone.   I won’t be using the Bluetooth Remote.

  • CAD $33
  • 610 Grams
  • suggested max weight is about 2.2 lbs/1Kg.
  • 1/4” screw thread (fits my GoPro, Sony camera, OM 4 gimbal)

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Click PLAY or watch some of my tests on YouTube.

photos, product endorsements

A review of my new Sony ZV-1

#CovidGoals

I wanna be a 📸 PHOTOGRAPHER.

I have tens of thousands of photos posted online, yet knew almost nothing about photography.

What’s an F-Stop?

Unable to travel as much as in the past, I decided to buy a real camera and — finallylearn how they work.  I have plenty of time.

I decided on the Sony ZV-1, their much hyped new vlogging camera.

So far, I’m liking it.

At 10.4 oz (294 g) without the handle remote, it’s small enough to carry on my hip wherever I go.  Fires up quickly.  Point and shoot.  Ideal for travel.

In fact, this is primarily a video camera.  But I’m happy with the photos, as well.

You can take a photo while the camera is videotaping.  It’s also easy to grab a digital still from video after the fact.

Biggest problem for me is lack of much optical zoom.  

The alternative is to shoot a photo with up to 20 Megapixels — then crop.

Here are three I shot at 5472 × 3648 pixels.

Note: software running this site takes the original and reduces size and quality to display online.  Click for larger versions.

New to me is the options of blurring out the background.  I do like it, once in a while.  Especially on closeups.

It’s good in low light — Gymnastics clubs, for example.  Much better than phones.

Made for vloggers, the ZV-1 works portrait or landscape equally well.

Base price is about CAD $1000.  Adding the Vlogger Kit, extra batteries, 128 GB memory card, tax, etc … I paid something close to CAD $1500.

I really like the bluetooth wireless remote handle.  It works from up to 45m away if you have the camera on a tripod.

As a selfie stick, most vloggers find it too short.  I’ll use a lightweight tripod, instead, starting and stopping with the Sony remote.

Getting started as a Dummy was not easy.  There’s too much information on the internet.

Best for me was the too detailed Sony Help Guide online.

I’ve watched many hours of YouTube videos, as well.

Click PLAY or watch a skeptical review on YouTube.

 Is it truly better than your phone or GoPro? 

Click PLAY or see the Wireless Remote on YouTube.

photos, product endorsements, video

DJI OM 4 gimbal

I’m again trying a DJI gimbal, this time because I really like the magnetic phone clamp. My goal is to produce smooth, stabilized video. No more shaky hand held clips.

As I travel solo most of the time, with the OM 4 you can take a photo or start/stop video with a hand gesture. Very convenient.

Click PLAY or see highlights on YouTube.

DJI OM 4

  • 3-axis motorized gimbal
  • Weight: 390 g (gimbal)
  • Battery Life: 15 hours (Under ideal conditions)
  • Charging Time: 2.5 hrs (Measured with a 10W charger)
  • cost about US $150 or CAD $200

Click PLAY or watch my first video edit using the Om 4 on YouTube.

 

blogs Rick reads, ethics, product endorsements

trusted News sites

Sites trusted by WikiTribune include

Reuters, Associated Press, BBC News

New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, Economist, Axios, Quartz, BuzzFeed Investigations, New Yorker, Guardian, Politico, Bloomberg, Nature

I like Economist, BBC, Guardian, Axios and Politico best. CBC is pretty good too.

don’t be a #FakeNews victim

cycling, product endorsements, travel

CanaDream 4 days Calgary → Vancouver CAD $618

For the first time I rented a CanaDream camper van to get me and my bike back to the left coast.

My cost for up to 4 days,  3000 km is CAD $618 (US $466) including insurance. Plus about $340 for fuel.  About $960 total.

That would be a great price for two people as flying cost over CAD $550 right now with bike. COVID prices.  I should have flown or taken the bus for about $140.

That price is cheaper than usual from CANADREAM because more people rent Vancouver to Calgary than the other way around. It’s called a relocation sale.

I departed Calgary Friday August 21. Dropped the vehicle in Vancouver Tuesday August 25th.

Did some adventuring en route.  But not as much as I had hoped.  I was behind the wheel for 2000 km.

Wild camped one night.  Stayed in inexpensive campgrounds the other three.  If you don’t plug in to electricity and water, cost is only $15 – $25 at B.C. Recreation sites.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Apple, audiocasts, books, photos, product endorsements

My iPhone SE 2020

Home button. Touch ID. Lightweight and future-proofed.

Comparatively inexpensive at US $400.

This is the iPhone for the rest of us.  🙂

My iPhone X was starting to die after 2.5 years.  Of various options, I decided to carry two phones for now:

iPhone X (no service) – photos and video

iPhone SE – phone, text, internet, audio books and podcasts, etc.

Having two should solve any end-of-day battery problems.

Rene Ritchie is my Apple guru.

Click PLAY or watch his review on YouTube.