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Airpods coffee

When Apple announced AirPods, the wireless earbuds, I thought they looked cool, but they didn’t really catch my attention. I already owned a pair of Bluetooth headphones, and regular earbuds have generally worked just fine in my ears.

And then people started to rave about them. As I mention in this week’s Practical Mac column for The Seattle Times, “… I began to see something unusual for modern Apple, with its deep marketing prowess and industry clout: enthusiastic word-of-mouth.”

After using them for a few weeks, I’m sold. They’re great, even with a few limitations (no volume control except via Siri, no quick pairing with the Apple TV). And AirPods offer the best first-encounter experience of any Apple product in recent memory, hands down.

Read the entire review here: AirPods turn out to be rare product that lives up to the hype.

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06b pixelmator truck edited after

Looking for an image editor on the Mac but don’t need the full power (or cost) of Adobe Photoshop? In Macworld, I just reviewed Pixelmator 3.5 Canyon, a great $30 alternative. This new version focuses on the application’s selection tools, adding a Quick Selection tool and a Magnetic Selection tool to make it easier to select and edit specific areas of an image.

It also adds a new Photos Editing Extension called Pixelmator Retouch, which gives you the ability to do retouching edits—like lightening or darkening specific areas, selective sharpening, and more—to images right in the Photos app, without exporting them to Pixelmator proper.

Read the review here: Pixelmator 3.5 Canyon review: Better selective editing and a new Apple Photos extension.

I edited the photo up above entirely in Pixelmator. Here’s the original version for comparison:

06a pixelmator truck edited before

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Chasing Light: Switzerland from Austin Mann on Vimeo.

Two thoughts:

  1. These photos and videos, and the results Mann found, are pretty stunning.

  2. Why the hell am I not in Switzerland? Amazingly beautiful.

Read and see the review here: iPhone 6s Camera Review

If you like the work I do, please consider signing up for my low-volume newsletter that I use to announce new projects, items, and giveaways that I think my readers would be interested in.

Redwoods Bridge Noiseless final

Have you ever left your camera’s ISO setting at a high level from shooting dark situations the night before, and then forgotten to change it before shooting the next day? Guilty as charged. The result is a lot of excessive digital noise in the next photos. That’s what happened to me in the photo above, one of my favorite shots during my photo workshop in May.

Modern camera sensors are much better at dealing with noise, but sometimes you need to push the ISO to get a shot. Or, if you’re using a smartphone’s camera, you don’t have a choice and the camera increases the sensor’s sensitivity, which adds the noise.

Macworld just published my review of MacPhun’s Noiseless and Noiseless Pro apps, which use algorithms and a lot of optional manual controls to minimize or reduce that noise without turning an image into a smeary mess. Noiseless also now includes an editing extension for Photos for OS X, so you don’t need to leave Photos to take advantage of the tool.

Read the article here: Noiseless and Noiseless Pro review: Clean up your photos shot in low-light conditions.

Noiseless bridge balanced

[By the way, you can order the top photo as a print! Contact me at jeff@jeffcarlson.com.]

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I’m happy to be writing for Macworld again, starting with a review of the new OmniOutliner 2.3 for iOS. This version now runs on the iPhone as well as the iPad, which means you can view or edit outlines when the inspiration strikes or when you have free time anywhere. It also takes full advantage of The Omni Group’s Omni Sync Server, which I believe is the model for cloud sync. Version 2.3 is free to anyone who owns OmniOutliner 2 for iPad, or costs $29.99 for a new license.

Omniout 02 linedetail

A sample outline as it appears on an iPhone 6

The second article in my series at Lynda.com about using an iPad in the field for photography is now posted. (You can read the Part 1 here.) This one takes us out into the field itself, where I discuss the advantages and the how-to of reviewing photos on location. I talk about using the Apple camera adapters and also wireless options like the Eyefi, which lets you review shots on the iPad while you’re shooting. I also offer ideas for recording location information and getting on-the-spot model releases easily.

Here it is: iPad Photography in the Field: Review Photos on Location

iPad literally in a field

Photoshop User Magazine, one of the top resources for Photoshop users and photographers, reviewed the latest edition of The iPad for Photographers and gave it a 5-star rating!

The author introduces and discusses more than 50 iPad apps that can be used for everything from wirelessly downloading from your camera to your iPad to editing photos, music, and movies on the iPad to controlling your DSLR from the iPad… I started using three of them even before finishing this review.

Psuser review

Imovie10iconSerenity Caldwell reviewed the new iMovie 10 for Macworld: iMovie 10 review: a lot to like, a few quibbles. As a longtime iMovie user (and author of several books and articles about it), here’s one line that particularly stood out:

The app’s fast enough now that it doesn’t need you to downscale your HD clips so that you can edit them.

Yay! I haven’t had a chance to play with the new version, but I’m looking forward to it.

Article: iStabilizer Dolly Review