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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Review of Contemporary Acrylics UK


A while ago Contemporary Acrylics UK was offering an A4 sized acrylic photo print which valued at £119.95 for £19.95 on the discount website Groupon. Being a photographer enthusiast by hobby and have never printed anything before I took a punt and bought the voucher at that advertised price.

I had chosen the photo I wanted to print and uploaded the image onto their website. I was then prompted to select what type of fittings I would like. It was either the screws spaces & finishing caps or the soft double-sided approved tape attachment. I went for the screws spaces & finishing caps which is standard look for what you would have for an acrylic print. That was an additional £7.95 to the cost. The "Approved" double-sided tape was £4.95. WHAT?! No where on the Groupon offer page did it say that there will be an additional cost of fittings. Then there was the postage and handling that was additional £9.95. So all in all it costs £37.85.

That was ok because from reviews on their website, one said that "Fantastic products the really show off our images". So four weeks by and then I got an email from the C A U K Production Team saying that with the original image sent and the fittings type selected, some textual parts of the image will end up being covered by the fittings locator. That was fine. I quickly sent back another image for processing instead.

A month later the finished product arrived and I have to say that I was deeply disappointed in the quality and finishing of the print. Looking closely at the print, you can tell that it was printed with a cheap inkjet printer as with cheap inkjet printers once printed, it shows where each line was printed as it overlaps in each row and the overall image was fuzzy and exhibiting a greenish hue which wasn’t on the original image.

On their website it states that "C A U K are continuously researching new and exciting manufacturing technologies, which enables us to provide unique and innovative printing systems. We have recently invested in key production machinery, which has enabled us to further increase our efficiency and produce a higher end product to all of our clients."

Anyway for the price (even discounted) and the appalling quality, needless to say that I will not be using their services or recommending them to anyone in the future. If you looking into printing an acrylic print, either get professionals to do it or you might as well buy a DIY kit and do it yourself. Even using a standard colour laser printer to print is better than what was received.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

AddThis

A while ago I had added a content sharing service/toolbar from AddThis to my blog so that at the footer of each post it would give you the option of sharing the post across social web. It served well for its purpose but remembered that it required you to manually alter the template to add some HTML and JavaScript code to the page-footer section. If you're not tech savvy enough you might have to get a developer friend to put it in for you. Once added in though, it works a treat.

Well, all that has changed now. AddThis have completely changed how the toolbar is added to each post and the best thing of all is that it doesn't require you to change your template any longer. All you have to do is jump on to the AddThis website to customise what social websites you would like to have the sharing option and then hit the Grab It button to obtain the new module.

By default, for the toolbar that I've selected that you can see at the bottom of this post, it doesn't have the Google+ 1 option. But that can be added on by adding the following line and the instructions here (addthis.com/features/google-plus1-button).

<a class="addthis_button_google_plusone"></a>


Just remember to make a backup of your template and remove the old AddThis code from it as well to avoid duplications.

Photosynth for iPhone

I have to say that I haven't been very active with my blog since Facebook/Twitter captured my laziness and took advantage of it with their quick status updates and 140 character limits but am very thankful to those who still visit my blog.

Here I am slowly bringing my blog back to life with a post about Microsoft Photosynth for the iOS devices. Well there are many articles and posts about it on the web already and like what everybody else says, if you're taking loads of photos and have always wanted to take a wider view of your subject/scene then Photosynth is a fantastic and worthwhile app to have on your iOS devices.

Initially released in late April 2011, it's been downloaded 3,500,000+ times already (as of the date of this post) and I would imagine ever growing. With Microsoft Photosynth, it allows you to take not only make a panorama from left to right, but also up and down, enabling you to capture a full "sphere". There are quite a handful of other apps within the AppStore that enables you to take panoramic photos as well but IMHO this has one of the best stitching engines comparable for the iOS devices.


Features:
- See your panoramas take shape as you capture them with INTERACTIVE CAPTURE
- Look and capture in all directions with FULL-SPHERE PANORAMAS
- See the final panorama right away with fast ON-DEVICE PROCESSING
- Sharp, seamless results with the ADVANCED IMAGE STITCHING ENGINE
- Panoramas are always available to view and share from the ON-DEVICE LIBRARY
- Explore the world's best panoramas every day with BEST OF BING MAPS
- Zoom, pan, and rotate your panorama in any direction with our IMMERSIVE VIEWER
- Save your panoramas to the cloud and view them online at PHOTOSYNTH.NET

Sharing:
- Share to Facebook with images or interactive panoramas
- Share to Bing Maps to see your panoramas throughout Bing
- Share to Email to send images of your panoramas directly to friends
- Your panorama images are available to any app from the Camera Roll
- Photosynth's unique capture experience requires an iPhone 3Gs, iPhone 4, iPad 2, or iPod Touch (Fourth Generation).

Best thing of all is that it is FREE!

The only thing that I would like to see added on to this already fantastic app where it saves the panoramic image to the Camera Roll is the ability to select the transformation type to be saved. At the time of this post it only saves in Spherical/Cylindrical mode. Would be nice to have Perspective mode added to it as well.

Get it @ AppStore