Aurora HDR 2019: A Review by Allister Jenks (@zkarj)

Let me start out by describing myself. I am a keen amateur photographer and I love to play with technology. I am expert in neither discipline, but I’ve been doing both for quite a lot of years now. As such, software like Aurora HDR 2019 is right up my alley — cool technology applied to photography.

I’ve dabbled in HDR photography in the past and know the basic principles of tone mapping, but I’ve not spent a lot of time making HDR images. I own a license for the original Aurora HDR Pro, now referred to as Aurora HDR 2016, and I’ve used it to create a number of pleasing results such as this vivid shot of one of my favourite buildings, made from 5 bracketed exposures.

AH2019 0 Aurora HDR 2019: A Review by Allister Jenks (@zkarj)

So when the opportunity came up to review Skylum’s Aurora HDR 2019, I was keen. I wondered how far the product had come in the intervening three years.

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iPad Pro 9.7″ Accessories Experiences

Apple Smart Cover, Apple Magic Keyboard, Adore June Keeb Sleeve
and Smatree Pencil Holder Case. A review by MacJim

Some time ago I bought an Apple Smart Keyboard for my iPad Pro 9.7”. While I was quite happy with this new device, I did think the keyboard was on the cramped side but, over time, I got used to it. The Apple Smart Keyboard worked fine for a while and had become my main cover for my iPad, but over time I began to get problems with it, as I would see intermittent error messages saying ‘this device is not compatible with this device’.

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The GLIF – First Impressions

A review by MacJim

A good few years ago, I backed my first Kickstarter project. It was the first version of the Glif for the iPhone 4 and was a neat wee device but, I have to admit, very rarely used… if ever.

The problem with version one was simple down to the way the iPhone 4 was held in place. It relied on a tight fit, the Glif held the iPhone in place by one side and a small area of the top edge, to keep the iPhone from falling out. Although I’ve never heard of any iPhones being damaged while they were used with version one, I never really plucked up the courage to try it out: it also didn’t work with a case.

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595Strapco Handmade Classic Leather 36” Camera Neck Strap

I recently bought a second hand camera, an Olympus OM-1n film camera, and decided I needed to get a strap for it. I searched online and in-store but found what was being offered was either too expensive or just didn’t suit my needs.

I own a Fujifilm X-T1 and love it: at the time purchase I looked at alternatives to the supplied strap from Fujifilm, and chose the Camera Strap V2.0 from ThinkTankPhoto. It is a mix of leather and man made fabrics and is very comfortable in use, and works well, but I still had that urge to get something a little better and more in line with the quality of this fine camera, but chose not to for time being.

So, here I was back looking for a strap but for the film camera this time. I again found it difficult to find what I wanted, even in the cheaper end of the market, to suit me.

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SoundPeats Q12 Bluetooth Headphones Review.

Sure those PowerBeats headphones Apple showed off might look the business but the reality is not everyone can afford the $199. I mean how is it possible that a set of headphones with a fraction of the technology an iPhone contains costs 1/3 the price? Granted a lot goes into speaker technology but still.

So today I’m looking at completely the other end of the spectrum of headphones with a price range that most mere mortals can afford, the SoundPeats Q12. Who knows if due to some dodgy translation it was supposed to be SoundBeats.

Still with an asking price of just £19.95/ $24.99 expectations shouldn’t be too high but then again my last inexpensive wireless set won me over.

Continue reading → SoundPeats Q12 Bluetooth Headphones Review.

STM Atlas iPad Pro case Review

The 12inch iPad Pro is a wonderful piece of kit. It has fast become one of my favourite pieces of Apple technology. However for the longest time it basically remained the iPad I kept at home. Both the cost of the darn thing and the insurmountable size of it made me nervous of taking it with me when I hit the road (in my case this is usually public transport as I sold my car last year). However with the recent addition of the Atlas iPad Pro case I have started to feel more comfortable taking this monstrous device out with me.

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Review: Jabra Move Wireless Bluetooth On-Ear Headphones

With the recent rumours that Apple might be eliminating the audio jack on the next iPhone we may soon be looking for Bluetooth headphones to replace the standard ones that Apple supplies.

Now I have no issue with Apple’s earbuds other than I’ve never had a pair that managed to stay inside my lug holes for any extended period of time. In fact I often notice folks walking along nonchalantly sporting the famous white earbuds that appear to be glued to their ears without any issues and it has always caused me a pang of jealousy.

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Review : 9.7 iPad Pro Review – A Lot to like…

9.7 Inch iPad Pro Review
The 9.7 inch iPad Pro concentrates almost everything that’s amazing about the 12.9 inch original into a device that is easy to carry around as the iPad Air 2. That includes not only the ludicrously powerful A9X processor but the smart keyboard and the Apple pencil. Oh and it’s got an even better camera, let’s take a look. The 12.9 inch iPad Pro packs 2732 by 2048 pixels. The 9.7 inch iPad by contrast packs the same resolution as the Air 2048 by 1536. It has the same custom timing control as a bigger iPad Pro but also has a few surprises under the glass.

Continue reading → Review : 9.7 iPad Pro Review – A Lot to like…

iPhone SE Review : The New In The Old. But It Works

In perhaps the worst kept secret in the world of Apple, the new iPhone SE was launched on monday with little in terms of surprises. Tim cook may have proclaimed that Apple was “doubling down on secrecy” but somewhere along the line this got missed and for the last few montsh we’ve all head to endure rumour after rumour surrounding a new iPhone. Thankfully mondays Apple event put us out of the rumor cycle and now into the review cycle for the iPhone 5SE.

Continue reading → iPhone SE Review : The New In The Old. But It Works

App Review : Gopili find cheap tickets for planes, trains, automobiles and coaches.

Sometimes something arrives for review at the most fortuitous time. At the start of almost every year I seem to end up having to do a fair amount of travelling. So the arrival in my reviewer’s box of Gopili, an app that promises to Find Cheap Tickets for UK and European Journeys could not have come at a better time. What better way to test a travelling, route planning and discount finding app than to test it in the real world.

Find Cheap Tickets for UK and European Journeys is the strap line on the website. Gopili caters for all the usual planes and trains but it also includes coaches and car sharing, something you don’t find in most other apps of this ilk.

1459251793 thumb App Review : Gopili find cheap tickets for planes, trains, automobiles and coaches.1459251803 thumb App Review : Gopili find cheap tickets for planes, trains, automobiles and coaches.

All travel journeys are started by choosing the departure date and time. Perhaps I am missing something but I couldn’t see any way to add a return leg to the journey. I reached out to the developers and this is what they came back with:

As our services aim to find the best option for the journey among all modes of transport, it is quite often that the cheapest option for a return journey will involve using different modes of transport. For example, using the bus from Bristol to London, and using the train to come back to Bristol. By displaying the cost of the return journeys by train and the return journeys by bus, it might prevent users to identify the cheapest option: bus on the first trip and train on the way back that is why on the desktop version of the website, the 2 searches are separated (1st search: departure, 2nd search: return).

Testing was problematic. My nearest train station wasn’t available at the time of review but speaking to the developers it is on the list to be added. Gopili would default to coach planning at times or not show any search results at all.

Again talking to the developers, who genuinely seemed to appreciate the feedback, they have been upfront to say that Gopili is more aimed at the major cities and towns for now but there are regular updates happening, working on getting the best results for your journey rather than covering everywhere.

GoPili Plains, Trains, Automobiles & Coaches.

So heading from my nearest city of Swansea to Bath for a job interview the results were as I expected for Trains. National Express coaches were on the list along with the local budget bus provider, Megabus. This is where Gopili can help you to make your journey cheaper. As long as you put a bit of thought into your travelling plans.

Megabus couldn’t take me all the way to my chosen destination, but given how cheap the service is it actually worked out cheaper for me to travel to Bristol by Megabus, and then to continue the journey from Bristol to Bath on the train.

Granted to some this may seem likea lot of hassle. For the budget conscious though, this is an incredibly handy addition. Having all the times, prices and durations on an easy to read screen certainly helps to make those decisions.

Flights.

Gopili scrapes the major airline services and found me a couple of flights, which I already knew about, going from Cardiff to Munich. There were no options for train, coach or car travel but this is hardly surprising given my location. If you have used a flight scraping service before it’s worth using Gopili to see other options.

A cursory check of London to Munich showed train services I’d never heard of before with a huge 50% saving versus flying on selected date. Granted it’s a 12 hour train journey instead of a 2 hour flight but at least you can have option. For some travellers the price can be more important than time – if a 12 hour journey on the train means you can afford to make a trip you might not otherwise manage then maybe that is a small price to pay .

Car sharing.
This seemed to be a feature which popped up quite rarely but nonetheless gave me the option to travel with someone in a car in my fictitious journey of Bristol to London.

Pricing varies from £15 onwards depending on the person, time of day and the journey. Again seeing the pricing and times helps to work out effort vs time, vs hassle. BlaBla car turned out to be much cheaper than going on the train but only marginally more expensive than the bus but was over 2 hours quicker.
If you’re lucky enough to plan a journey where you have the option of planes trains and automobiles you can adjust the filter at the bottom of the screen to tailor to your preferred travelling method.

It does take a few seconds to collate the results for your journey but it is responsive enough not to border on being frustrating. Best of all even though it is scraping many sites you are not going to be bombarded with endless pop-up windows and adverts.

Journeys and bookings are done by taking you to the Gopili webpage via in app Safari browsing. This of course means you’re not handing over any personal or payment information to Gopili

A Few Problems
On a few occasions trying to book through the app, which forwards you to the bookings section of your chosen transport method would hang. Even if on Wifi or 3G using my iPhone 5s netted the same result. To me that’s not a big issue as once I have travel plans in mind I can easily jump on the desktop. The developers have responded, very quickly I might add, to say they are aware of this issue. At times it can take up to 30 seconds to get a response from the providers server and they are working on a fix for this.

Overall on GoPili Finding Cheap Tickets For Journeys

If you’re looking for an all in one travel planner which is quick, efficient, and scraping all of the sites you would probably do yourself manually then Gopili should be a first app to check. So long as you are in a supported area or at the very least, near to one.

Gopili – Cheap tickets for train, coach, flight and ride share is available from the App Store.