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Lab Notes Blog
July 5, 2010
For as long as there have been bookstores and booksellers, the one word that authors, agents and publishers dread hearing most is... remainder.
For those not familiar with publishing argot, remaindering is when bookstore sales falter and books remain unsold and returned, so the publisher tries to cut his losses by offering the work (more…)
June 26, 2010
Today the postman brought two books that I had ordered from the Book-of-the-Month Club: David Weber’s newest Honor Carrington novel, "Mission of Honor," and Dominic Lieven’s acclaimed "Russia Against Napoleon." As you can correctly infer, I have an avid interest in anything and everything to do with the Napoleonic Era. Among our 5,000-plus library (more…)
June 25, 2010
A couple days ago, I was feeling rather foolish and suckerly, having plunked down $259 for a Kindle 2 on June 3rd, only to see the price plummet $70 a little over two weeks later.
That brutal reality is fairly typical of how the computer and consumer electronics industries have introduced price cuts over the years. If (more…)
June 22, 2010
Back on June 3rd, I clicked the Buy button on Amazon.com and purchased a Kindle 2.
In an earlier blog, I predicted that prices on eReaders would fall rapidly and precipitously, as pressure from the iPad and next generation tablet competitors start eroding eReader market share. Only, I didn’t quite realize (more…)
June 17, 2010
We finally bit the bullet last week, went to our friendly Apple store, and ordered an iPad.
Of course, they were completely sold out, so the Apple rep accessed my iTunes account, reserved the model that I wished, and promised (more…)
June 12, 2010
Last Friday I paid for, downloaded into my Kindle, and read straight through the trio of novels by the late Steig Larsson, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest. (They happen to be, respectively, #3, #2, and #1 on The New York Times current bestseller list.) Although Larrson (more…)
November 8, 2009
What no one really expected was that the DSLR would also revolutionize movie making. (more…)
November 1, 2009
PhotoPlus East (PPE) is the big four-day camera show held every October that's aimed primarily at professional photographers, and not the retail photo industry. So, unlike trade shows such as CES (in Las Vegas in January) or Photo Marketing Association (in Anaheim in February), no under-wraps pre-production models were on display behind closed doors for technology journalists and industry analysts. (Those behind-behind-the-scenes confidential meetings are one of the reasons why we tend to have advance notice about cameras and other equipment and software before they’re announced to the public.) What PhotoPlus does provide is an overview of current state-of-the-art photo equipment, a place to meet and talk with our colleagues and contacts, and a glimpse of industry trends - all under one roof at the Javits Convention Center in midtown Manhattan.
Here are a handful of cameras and a lighting trend that caught our interest at PPE: (more…)
May 31, 2009
For nearly a year, DigitalBenchmarks Lab has had hot and cold running printers, with different models coming and going just about every week. We put each through its paces – testing for speed, performance, image quality, value, media costs and so forth, comparing it to others meant for the same market – write the review (most often for Computer Shopper at present, since we’re doing almost all their printer reviews), then pack it up, ship it out and set up the next one.
It’s become an interesting routine, but last week, we had to laugh, when we received delivery – one after the other – of a teeny 2.63 pound Sony DPP-FP97 Digital Photo Printer, a sensible 31 pound Lexmark X204n monochrome laser all-in-one, and a humongous 189-pound, 44" HP Designjet Z3200 Photo fine art giclee printer. (more…)
May 7, 2009
For well over a decade, we were regular members of PC Magazine’s elite testing team at PC Labs, where we put a wide variety of products – digital cameras, scanners, image editing software, laptops, desktop publishing programs, etc. – through a lengthy, rigorous series of tests. The magazine published four printer roundups a year, so every three months, our team would hibernate in the lab for about a week, putting in 12-hour days as we tested, evaluated and reviewed a bunch of printers. (Of course, we did similar testing marathons for other PC Magazine roundups, so we pretty much lived at the lab for a good part of the year.) Yes, it was hard work, but it also was lots of fun.
And responsibility. (more…)
April 29, 2009
One of the most frequent questions we’re asked from both clients and the general public is what equipment do we use in our lab to test hardware, software and accessories. Having spent more than ten years as PC Magazine/PC Labs’ photo and imaging experts, you might think that we’re outfitted with a panoply of exotic instruments and state-of-the-art devices that would make any techie or engineer salivate with envy. Therefore, you might be surprised to know that (more…)