Thursday, July 30, 2009

Nikon Adds DSLRs with Video: D300s, D3000 & Lenses

For those keeping track at home, my primary digital SLR is a Nikon D300 with 18-200mm VR zoom lens. Now, it seems, Nikon -- in a fashion only seconded by Apple, Inc. -- has released new ways to take my money.

Today they announced two digital SLR bodies: The D300s and a consumer-targeted D3000. Sounds like the upgraded D300s will add video-- something we've seen in both the top (D3) and mid-range (D90, D5000) of the lineup.

I first was skeptical of adding video capability to a perfectly-good digital SLR, but now after time with the D90 and D5000, I can see the value, convenience of merging the two functions. Sure there are plenty of better video capture devices (even a Flip-sized handheld camera may suffice), but the convenience of using your existing lens glass (think zoom) is handy at times. To say nothing of not having to cart around a second device (and, more significantly, the batteries, chargers, and memory cards that accompany). Video (often HD video) in a digital SLR is at the very least something to strongly consider.

While I strongly recommend the 18-200 VR lens-- with any Nikon camera, I'm not sure the upgrade to VRII justifies the expense to have the latest. Look for the original 18-200 VR lens and save yourself a few bucks if you can. I'll look forward to testing each.

And speaking of new lenses, Nikon also tells us they're releasing a new 70-200mm 2.8 VRII. THAT, my friends, tops my wishlist. With Christmas right around the corner, I'm already getting ideas...

Happy shooting! Let me know what you think of Nikon's announcements, which I've conveniently pasted here for your review:

Nikon has just announced the highly anticipated professional level D300s and consumer level D3000 digital SLR cameras which deliver a new benchmark for creative freedom. Both cameras balance performance and versatility which make it easy to take great photos regardless of experience.

Highlights of the D300s include:

· 12.3-megapixel DX-format CMOS Image Sensor

· D-Movie HD Video with external stereo microphone jack

· Continuous shooting as fast as 7 frames-per-second

· Available August 2009 for $1799.95 (body only)

Highlights of the D3000 include:

· New Nikon Guide Mode teaches and builds confidence in SLR photography

· 10.2-Megapixel DX-format Imaging Sensor

· 6 Automatic Exposure Scene Modes

· Available August 2009 for $599.95 (camera outfit with 18-55mm VR lens)

Nikon has also launched the new 18-200mm VR and 70-200mm VR lenses today. Both of these lenses use Nikon’s VR II image stabilization technology, to substantially reduce camera shake-related image blur. The 18-200mm VR lens will be available in September 2009 for $849.95 and the 70-200mm VR lens will be available in November 2009 for $2399.95.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Square Live at 7: Travel Tech with Tracy Barry

Today on The Square "Live @ 7" we talked Travel Gadgets while outdoors on the bricks at Pioneer Courthouse Square. Join me as Tracy and I explore the latest in summer-friendly travel gadgets-- including a camera to keep an eye on things while you're away from home.

To view this video on, just point your browser here. For more, visit and tune in weeknights at 7pm!

Tech News Roundup and a Weekend of PDX Tech Events

A targeted attack exposed sensitive information about the company that runs the popular Twitter service, Microsoft set to open stores to compete with Apple and more news rounds up this week's Tech Expert Topic notes from Newsradio 750 KXL.

Employees at Twitter uses a hosted version of productivity software known as Google Apps. An intruder was able to foil security and obtain access to sensitive data from the company behind the popular social networking service Twitter. This data contained juicy financials, candidate interview records and a reality TV show pitch. The information was then offered to various blogs and news outlets. At least a few took the bait and published the information.

While Twitter is comparing the event this week to having someone "rifle through your underwear drawer" (as in, embarrassing but not exactly revealing), it does serve as a good reminder to change your passwords and use strong passwords.

With one exception, users of the Twitter service itself are not affected. Still, it wouldn't hurt to change your Twitter password anyway. It's just good practice.

Microsoft and Apple
Microsoft this week revealed just a tad more about the retail locations it plans to open. Apple's slice of the computer market dips from 4th place this past winder down to 5th place. Finally, with new more attractive prices on many systems including the popular Macbook line, Apple is calling foul on Microsoft's Laptop Hunter TV spots.

This Week In Local Tech Events...

  • Join me for an action-packed series of rapid-fire talks as Ignite Portland 6 takes place --free, no ticket required-- at the Baghdad Theatre.
  • Tomorrow it's Beer & Blog Happy Hour from 4-6pm, then head down to Pioneer Courthouse Square for KGW's Live at 7 where you can watch the show live (no doubt we'll be outside on the bricks!) and I'll stick around afterwards.
  • Then on Saturday, Join me at a special "End Bloglessness 2" event (Downtown from 12p-5p, free) if you've always wanted to start a blog... experts (i.e. those that know FAR more than I do) will be on hand to answer questions, get you set up and tech you best practices. (While you're at it, add WordCamp/PDX to your calendar NOW.)

For more on this story, listen to my report (MP3), as heard on Newsradio 750 KXL during Portland's Morning News 16 Jul 2009.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Grab Your Popcorn: Office 2010 "The Movie" Trailer Released

Sure, it's over-the-top cheese, but the "trailer" for Microsoft Office 2010 is at least worth a sneak. Here's hoping this isn't a case of "you saw the best stuff in the trailer" as disappointed movie-goers are too familiar with:

CNET reports, "For those who want more hard-core information on the next Office, you shouldn't have to wait too long. Microsoft has said it will have a technical preview of the software this month."

More information about Office 2010 expected in the coming days and of course, we'll stay on top of it for you.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Google Throws Chrome into Operating System Battle

Covering the tech world, a few things are certain: There will be much speculation and rumors before any Apple announcement, and Google has been said to be creating everything. (Reports of Google creating a death ray are, at this time, only rumors.)

Late last night Google admitted one of these spculations, an operating system, was actively under development. The Chrome operating system, set for public release in 2010, initially targets low-end netbooks -- those super-portable machines focused largely on basic online activity (email, web browisng, note taking).

Many netbooks now run an older version of the Microsoft Windows operating system, XP. While the Vista requirements are generally too much for netbooks to handle, Windows 7 is expected to fare much better. [I've been running Windows 7 on a netbook with pleasing results.]

While Google hasn't announced much in the way of details, we do know the operating system will be an expansion of the freely-available Chrome web browser.

There's much work to be done, and last night's post raises more questions than it answers, for now this closing thought from Google:
We have a lot of work to do, and we're definitely going to need a lot of help from the open source community to accomplish this vision. We're excited for what's to come and we hope you are too. Stay tuned for more updates in the fall and have a great summer.

Stay tuned to this blog (subscribe for updates via. email) for more of what you need-to-know when details of Google Chrome is released.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Microsoft Warns of Security Hole -- No Fix Yet!

Microsoft is warning users of Windows XP and Server 2003 software of a serious threat potentially allowing hackers control of your computer.

Generally Microsoft will announce security updates and patch vulnerabilities before announcing details. This time, there has been no warning -- there is a workaround allowing users to disable functionality and avoid infection.

Here's what you need to do:
  • Visit the Microsoft Security alert website for self-help instructions.
  • Be especially vigilent about websites you visit, warnings you receive and other online behaviour.
  • Report any susipcious computer activity to your company IT department and look for warnings / advice from system managers.

Affected Systems:
* Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2, when used with:
o Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition (32-bit x86)
o Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition (32-bit x86)
o Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition (32-bit x86)
o Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Web Edition
o Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter x64 Edition
o Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise x64 Edition
o Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard x64 Edition
o Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition
o Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition for Itanium-Based Systems
o Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition for Itanium-based Systems
* Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2, when used with:
o Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
o Microsoft Windows XP Professional
* Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 3, when used with:
o Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
o Microsoft Windows XP Professional