Sunday, April 2, 2017

Four months onward

In May last year, my last Android tablet committed suicide. Unlike the other tablets, the charging port didn't break. This time, the operating system corrupted itself. It got slower and slower then finally ceased functioning so I gave it a factory reset which effectively turned the thing into a brick. Thus I went for an iPad.

The iPad has been pretty good. The software available is more limited and limiting but the user experience is excellent. Apple is somewhat miserable about the storage available online with 5GB as opposed to Googles 15GB and connectivity to other devices is hopeless. A camera memory card reader is available at about $30 or around the price of a cheap Android tablet that will connect easily to my existing card readers. As a pure consumption only device the iPad is excellent. The clunky connectivity is what kills it.

Sometime last year I went over to using an Olympus mirrorless camera. I still have not upgraded from the single lens I bought at the same time nor have I purchased an eye level viewfinder for it. I have found the iAuto setting is pretty good and covers most of the situations I need, most of the time. In fact, I've not found a single situation it hasn't handled superbly.

About four months ago I switched to my current flip phone having used smart phones for the previous 7 years. In all practical purposes I can find nothing that I'm actually missing with this setup. In fact I find my time is more mine as I am not continually checking for messages or notifications. I'm not getting all excited about an email arriving only to find it's another breast enhancement or penis enlargement message.

Having been using my Olympus camera, I find it's much more user friendly than my Canon digital SLR. In fact, comparing the two makes the Canon look like a Fisher-Price sized toy. Big chunky cameras and big chunky lenses for toddlers hands to grasp. The Olympus I can put in a single jacket pocket. Best of all, instead of spending $1000 like I did on my Canon camera and then watching it depreciate down to $10 on eBay, I spent $50 on a used Olympus.

The problem with the Olympus is that I can't get the images off it without using somebody else's computer. The software won't run on my elderly MacBook. My elderly MacBook can't be upgraded any further in terms of operating system and the battery is dead. A replacement battery from eBay turned out to be fake and worked for two weeks before quitting.

So, photographically, I'm pretty much on stop for the moment unless I borrow somebody else's computer - which I am loathe to do. The way forward is limited by money. The options would appear to be:
  • Buy an overly expensive gizmo for my iPad and hope the iPad lasts longer than a couple more months. The longest I've had from a tablet before it broke is 14 months. Cost $25
  •  Buy a new battery for my MacBook and hope I can cope with just jpeg images since nothing will read the orf image files.  Cost $100-$250 (Apple refuses to say how much exactly)
  •  Buy a cheap android tablet for uploading images only. ($40)
  •  Buy a new Apple laptop and pray it lasts as long as my old one. ($800-$1500)
There really seems little to choose between the first and third options. They allow me to handle jpeg images but not orf images. That's pretty much a killer for serious photography as is the inability to store the images locally. A laptop would have a good hard drive. There is of course the other option if using just memory cards for storage. Use a card and store it. That would work pretty well and to be honest, I think this rotating magnetic disk idea has had its day.

The big stumbling block is of course money. How much I can afford to spend out of how much I have while leaving a little behind to copewith an emergency. Being out of work from March to September of 2014 depleted my funds terribly. Then continuing to stay in a hovel that cost more than my income for a further 7 months put my funds on the critical list. When I say a hovel, I do mean a hovel. I was in a house with drug dealers to the left and right, not far from the jail. I'm not sure what kind of pigs lived in the place before me but they left it in an awful state. I never got my deposit back but then I wasn't expecting to when they asked for it. Any landlord that would rent out a nasty place in a nasty area isn't going to be too honest.

So since then I've been double bunking while also converting an old schoolbus into a home. That has been a painfully slow progress due to lack of funds and having to do it all while being paid effectively less than minimum wage. $9 an hour sounds ok until there are no benefits and only 4 hours a day and only for 180 days a year. To save you working it out, that's $6,480 a year gross. Barely enough to get to and from work etc. I was stuck on that for 2 years until I got my current position which still leaves me eligible for food stamps, rent assistance etc - if I applied.

As I'm now earning a shade more money though not enough to need to file taxes, I feel I can afford a little improvement. The last 3 years have been very rough! Indeed life hasn't been rosy for longer than that even. Without too much risk, I might be able to splurge up to the price of a cheap tablet.

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