SHARPER DIGITAL IMAGES
Dynamic range is the ability to capture details even in a scene's darkest shadows and its brightest highlights, and it has always been an issue in photography.
Digital photography, in general, suffers from a more limited dynamic range than many types of film. The Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro is the second camera from Fuji that tries to improve on that record.
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Like the S3 model it replaces (Fuji skipped over the S4), the S5 employs an unusual image-sensing chip. Each of its 6.17 million pixels has a secondary, smaller pixel to expand its light-gathering abilities. As a result, S5 users can expand the camera's dynamic range up to 400 percent in five increments. Alternatively, the camera's image processor can automatically choose the best level of expansion. With the earlier model, the feature was either just on or off.
The S5, which will be available next month, is otherwise very much like the Nikon D200 on which it is based. Fuji does include one novelty the Nikon lacks: software that analyzes images during playback to find faces and then enlarge them on the camera's rear monitor so you can see if someone blinked.
A COCKPIT SEAT FOR GAMES
There's nothing like being in the middle of the action in a good video game. Serious fans of flight-simulator programs can now grab their force-feedback joysticks and practically climb right into the cockpit. The HotSeat Flight Sim gaming chassis, available in three models, brings both a Dolby 5.1 six-speaker surround sound system and a comfy chair to the stimulating experience of simulated flight.
Made of welded steel with an adjustable seat and flat-panel monitor stand, the HotSeat Flight Sim stows the subwoofer under the seat and offers plenty of table space for a keyboard, joystick and game controllers. The chassis is compatible with PC-based games and most major gaming systems, including the Nintendo Wii, Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation.
All models can be seen and ordered at hotseatinc.com. Prices for the Flight Sim chassis start around US$1,000 for an entry-level rig and move up to US$4,000 for a deluxe model that adds a 23-inch widescreen monitor, souped-up gaming PC, game controllers and a copy of Microsoft Flight Simulator X. Dramamine not included.
LOSE THE HEADSET FOR SKYPE CALLS
Netgear's Dual-Mode Cordless Phone with Skype — or the SPH200D for short — mixes plain old landline communications with cutting-edge Internet calling.
The SPH200D connects to your standard phone line and allows traditional calls. It also hooks into your Internet router and works with Skype, the popular online calling service owned by eBay that allows free calls to other Skype users, who typically talk using headsets at their computers. You can talk to anyone on your Skype buddy list or make inexpensive national and international calls over Skype's network without having to use your own computer.
The phone includes a cordless handset that uses DECT (digital enhanced cordless telecommunications) technology to reduce interference from other wireless networks and improve call quality. It also has a small color screen that shows a list of Skype contacts or caller ID information, depending on the network being used.
Additional handsets are extra and will be available later this year.
TAKE AN INTERNET CALL OR JUST DOODLE
You can't put the world in your pocket, but you can put the Web there, with Nokia's N800 Internet tablet, which is about the size of a paperback (7.5cm by 15cm by 1.3cm). Like the earlier N770, it lets you browse the Internet, send and receive e-mail and instant messages, download audio and video and get RSS feeds. The N800 adds a Web cam for videoconferencing and a microphone for Internet phone calls.
As a media player, the N800 handles MP3 and Windows Media files and other common audio and video formats, displaying images on a 4.1-inch color screen and playing audio through built-in stereo speakers or a headphone. Content can be loaded from SD or MMC memory cards, streamed from the Web or downloaded through a USB connection from another computer. The tablet uses WiFi networking, but it can also connect to a compatible Nokia phone via Bluetooth and use it as a wireless modem.
The tablet has an on-screen keyboard. It will recognize text written with a stylus, which can also be used for doodling.
FOR A MEDIA ROOM AWAY FROM HOME
Even seasoned business travelers need a bit of downtime. The Interlink ExpressCard Media Remote lets an average laptop act like a media center, complete with a couch-potato-worthy remote control.
The Media Remote is just 4mm thick and fits into an ExpressCard slot, found on most recent laptops. When it is in the slot, the remote charges itself using the laptop's battery, and when it is out it communicates with the laptop using Bluetooth wireless technology. It should last about a week on a full charge.
The remote works with iTunes, Windows Media Center, Windows Media Player and RealPlayer and can switch tracks, pause and play audio and video and select on-screen items, all from up to 9m away. The device also works with PowerPoint, allowing it to double as a presentation remote.
Fans of digital media will appreciate its small size and ease of storage. The only things missing are a few good DVDs and a library of easy-listening music.
Taipei is almost flat. At least the parts in which most people live, work and play. Furthermore, many major thoroughfares have designated bicycle lanes separating them from motorized vehicles, while minor roads offer quiet, sometimes leafy alternatives. There are also over 200km of riverside bike paths connecting the downtown with places as distant as Tamsui, Keelung, Muzha, Xindian, Yingge and Bali. Less than five percent of all journeys in the capital are undertaken by bicycle, however. “And this proportion is falling,” says Chan Kai-sheng (詹凱盛), founder of the non-profit Taiwan Urban Bicycle Alliance (台灣城市單車聯盟; TUBA). Chan thinks this may be due
Warren Hsu (許華仁) sees chocolate making as creating art and performing magic. Zeng Zhi-yuan (曾志元) “talks” to his cacao beans and compares the fermenting process to devotedly caring for a child. Despite their different products and business models, the two helped put Taiwanese chocolate on the map in 2018 at the prestigious International Chocolate Awards’ (ICA) World Finals when Hsu’s Fu Wan Chocolate (福灣) claimed two golds, five silvers and two bronzes, while Zeng took home four golds. That year, Taiwanese chocolatiers burst through the gates with a total of 26 medals, an impressive feat given that many locals don’t
SEPT. 14 to SEPT. 20 When then-county commissioner Chen Ding-nan (陳定南) announced that movie theaters in Yilan County no longer needed to play the national anthem before each showing, the authorities were displeased. It was Sept. 13, 1988, over a year after the lifting of martial law, but the decades-old tradition where moviegoers had to stand and sing the anthem still endured. Of course, Chen sugarcoated his decision: “Considering the environment of the theater, the contents of the movies and the reactions of the audience, we believe that it’s actually disrespectful to play the anthem before each showing. We
In Japan — where they take their cats very seriously — they call Yuki Hattori the Cat Savior. He is so popular that he saw 16,000 patients last year, and crowds regularly queue up to hear him talk about neko no kimochi (a cat’s feelings), while people from all over Japan make the pilgrimage to his practice. Sometimes clients turn up from further afield. “One flew in from Iraq for a personal consultation,” Hattori says, “without his cat, due to border quarantines.” In Japan’s rarefied world of cat doctors, the vet Hattori is very much a superstar — but now there