23 Sep 2012

The One With Project 1709

There will be a day where you will tell yourself, “.. I have taken too many pictures and it’s almost impossible to remember all of them…”.

Unfortunately (and maybe not surprisingly), mine has reached such a stage. Not yesterday, but probably since last year or so. At first organising it via a clear folder structures seems reasonable, and probably a good start. But as I started taking pictures randomly, from multiple cameras and phones and not forgetting images which I’ve edited and obtained from other friends’ cameras, I knew I will get myself into trouble with these images.

Quite sure many others shared such “problems”. Maybe this is an “issue” of the digital World. And just bear in mind, we are just like less than 15 years of mass digital camera era. And as we project our life into the next decade, finding your images will definitely be an unpleasant necessity.

Along came Canon’s “Project 1709”. Yes… not the final name yet as it is still in beta and this marks Canon’s first attempt into the ever crowded cloud photo storage/management service.

Option
It’s good to know that Canon is using the universal sign in either via Facebook, Google, Yahoo, etc… I believe there will be more options available in the future but at least with Facebook, this should be sufficient for now (reason to come below under killer features)

First Impression
Maybe it’s just me but I really have a great feeling when I first see the design of this site. Dark colours are used to contrast mostly bright pictures that we normally take. And if you are like many Canon camera users out there you will probably notice there’s a distinct & probably intentional exclusion on the usage of “Canon red” in the web design.

Second Impression
Ok… Now I’ve tried to upload some pictures and DANG…  desktop upload client still not available for MAC users. And DANG… Windows version not working with my WHS 2011. Yes… I know, it’s still in beta but hey… it’s 2012 and MAC users are increasingly popular!

Then I tried on their “selective” upload. Not to be too negative but, you can only select 10 images to be uploaded at once. 10 images!!! When can I finish uploading my images? It might take a lifetime to upload my lifetime images J  Not just that, how am I supposed to remember which of the images I’ve uploaded???Uuploads are simultaneous and if the system crashed halfway during uploads (which is common during any beta stage), you will need to select the images and upload again. Dear Canon, take this as my feedback J

On a positive side
Alrite… enough on the “constructive” feedback. Let’s look at the bright side for now. After all, it’s really still in a beta phase and I am sure Canon will continuously improving the details.

After  I’ve uploaded some pictures, one thing I really like is their “tiles” layout (aka Metro look). Interfaces are easy to understand and simple layout means you will not be intimidated to click on anything you see on screen.

One of the key navigation tool is the “Date” of which the pictures were taken. The “year” is clearly labelled on top of the pictures and once you click on the year, you will be shown the months and it’s a nice touch that they will highlight only the months are available based on the pictures.

You can also filter the images by tags (which you need to create) and by cameras. Because it’s made by Canon, EXIF data are part of the data made available on each picture. Hence, it can easily filter by camera models (even if it’s not taken from a Canon camera). Hopefully future improvements will allow us to filter images with more options; ie By Aperture, Colours and zoom range.

Apart from the tiles design, Canon also implemented the “infinite” scrolling page design. This means no more click “next” after “next” to view your pictures. Nice…

Killer Feature
Maybe there are something similar out there, but I’ve not seen this before. What set Project 1709 apart from the rest or at least differentiate themselves with other cloud services and cloud storage is it’s integration with Facebook. When you share a picture via Project 1709 to your Facebook account, it will track all comments within the Project 1709 platform.  In the long term perspectives, this is a neat feature and particularly interesting when you go through a history of all of your pictures.

Final Thoughts?
Project1709 is by no mean "final" (hence beta). So it's only right for me to reserve my final thoughts on this exciting new service for now. A lot of questions are still floating; ie how much free storage for new sign up? How much space until they start charging? How much would that cost? And how committed Canon is in moving away from hardware based products especially for consumer segments. And what other "killer" features are in the pipeline...

Hopefully I can revisit this and give my comments in the coming months but as it is, Project1709 do show some great promises and if it manage to evolve well, it might be a great companion between your digital images and social media.

To sign up, head to www.project1709.com. At the moment, they are still drip feeding the users slowly (but surely) to ensure pleasant user experience with the new service. And a short video presentation as below;

If you want to know more, kindly leave me a message here or twit me @ah_heng


21 Sep 2012

The One With iPhone 5

Another September, and here we go, another iPhone. If you are counting since 2007, iPhone 5 is not the fifth iPhone by Apple.

Like Namewee said, "... u belum tengok u jangan panggil olang lain jangan pigi tengok ma...".

So with that in mind, I've tried to reserve my comment  about this phone since the introduction by Phil S last week... Until today...

My thoughts...

If you are using an iPhone 4 or 4s, I think you should keep the cash and wait for 5s. It's just feel so "iPhone 4" and the longer screen really doesn't make any sense. Yes, it does feel thinner and lighter. But hey... if you are paying 529 quid on this, I guess you want it to feel solid! And don't get me started on the "lightning" connector. WTF!!! Hasn't Apple heard of the port call "Micro USB" if they want to make it smaller??? 

Of course, of course... If we love Apple, we should knew from the beginning it would look "cool" to have a proprietary connector. And part of the success of Apple product is probably the eco-system it created on the accessories and etc... (yah yah... remember thunderbolt?? Still haven't seen any great acceptance yet!!)

Again, don't get me wrong, iOS 6 is a solid OS and since it's stil being supported on your iPhone 4/s, I still think you should hold on to your cash :)

What if you are buying a smartphone for the first time?

If you like Apple, go straight to the latest iPhone 5. Don't hesitate on whether to get the 4 or 4s. Before you knew it, iPhone 5s rumours will start within weeks :)

However, if you are new into the smartphone eco system and hasn't spend any money on the OS dependent Apps, the year is 2012 and it's a very different landscape compare to 2007 or 2008. Then, iPhone is probably the only logical choice if you are buying a smartphone.

Since then, there are many other great phones produced by HTC, Samsung, Motorola and Nokia... All the OS has since evolved to a stage where it should be easy to use for anyone picking their first smartphone. And most of the common apps are available throughout all the OS platforms.

So choose the phone that you feel right on your hand. Don't listen to fanboys/girls like us ;) 

Last but not least, I noticed someone actually pre-order it earlier and get their iPhone 5 delivered early in the morning. Maybe that's why so many people are "sick" today staying at home "ahem.." waiting for an important package. But isn't part of the fun of an iPhone is to queue up for hours and hours like this??? :)

17 Sep 2012

The One With Photokina 2012

I thought it's probably good to create a dedicated page to highlights some of the latest and greatest from Photokina 2012 which I hope I can live blog when I make my first visit to Photokina tomorrow.

For now, let's see what's have been announced by Canon by following the link below;


See you in Cologne!