Marius Masalar

Photographer, Technology Writer, Podcaster

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Fujifilm X100F

The one that got away

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Like so many other Fujifilm shooters, I have a bit of a history with the X100 cameras. I missed the original, but the X100S was a turning point in my photography. By the time the X100T arrived, I was already shooting differently, had already ditched my DSLR, and was making more photos I was proud of.

Then the X-Pro 2 came along.

Suddenly, I had a camera that fit my usage like a glove, carried over the unassuming look of the X100 series, and pushed its image quality into an entirely different realm. Somewhere along the line, I also experienced how green the grass was on the Olympus side of things with the PEN-F.

When the X100F appeared on the scene this year, it had much more serious competition to contend with. And even though it’s the ideal camera for many photographers, it didn’t measure up for me.

 Sibling Rivalry

Fundamentally, the X100F’s appeal was

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Things 3: First Impressions

Slow and steady wins the race

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My first ever digital task management system was Things. It’s been around for a decade, and I was an early adopter when it hit iOS (as one of the first 600 apps available for the platform).

I look back on my time with Things fondly. It was always the best looking, most elegantly designed app in the space, but I eventually lost confidence because of its glacial pace of development.

While other apps exploded onto the scene and raced forward with new features, new ideas, and more robust functionality, Things trundled along patiently. In an era of new frontiers, I wanted to be on the cutting edge with the cool kids. As long-time readers know, I’ve been through a lot of task management tools since then…

Was Things really slow to progress though?

Looking back, Things was among the first apps available when the iPad launched. It was among the first apps to

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Three Unpopular Opinions About The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

(One of the best games I’ve ever played)

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 1. The Voice Acting is Bad

The only thing in the game that I think is bad is the voice acting.
It’s not so much that it’s unconvincing (which it is), but that its presence changes a fundamental part of the Zelda “feel” in a way that doesn’t appeal to me.

Something has been lost by adding it in, and I can’t think of anything that’s been gained. Link is still the strong silent type, so why does everyone else suddenly need a voice? The more emotive character models would be just fine expressing their dialogue the way the series has always done it.

1*ioaNPuBSa3lc7nMJL9bLug.jpegThis is the way Zelda dialogue should be. It just feels right.

I know this because the vast majority of the game’s interactions still unfold the old-fashioned way, which makes the transition to and from voice acted parts all the more unpleasant. It highlights the sub-par quality of the voice acting

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Where Do You Tell Your Story?

No, I mean literally: Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook…?

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From video filters to Stories, wherever Snapchat goes, its peers are sure to follow. But being first isn’t always an advantage, and Instagram’s take on the Stories concept has proven that sometimes it pays to be second.

I’m drawn to the genuine, real-time, ephemeral nature of Snapchat, and specifically the easy-going nature of Stories. Snapchat has become the de-facto means of communicating among my friends, and while it took me a while to warm up to it, I understand the appeal now.

Stories bridge the gap between the intimacy of individual messaging and the performance aspect of public feeds. The trouble is that you can’t be spontaneous and immediate on multiple platforms simultaneously. Unlike standard feed-based social networking where you can cross-post, a story is unique.

As more apps adopt the format, it leaves us having to

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Fujifilm Instax SP-2

Instax makes memories tangible, shareable, and delightful, and the SP-2 is the best way to experience it

I’ve struggled to review Fujifilm’s compact Instax printer, the SP-2. I’ve had it for months, but it’s taken time for me to be able to articulate why I so enthusiastically recommend it.

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The more time I spend with the Instax SP-2, the more I grow to love it. What I first considered a fun toy has slowly earned a permanent spot in my bag. It’s difficult to convey the reason for this without being there beside you, showing it to you, encouraging you to print some photos on it.

In fact, the key is that it’s not about you or me—it’s about what this helps us do for others.

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 Artifacts of Memory

On the one hand, this small treasure produces artifacts of memory, and magnifies our emotional experience of them in a way I never thought possible.

It dissolves the crusty cynicism of my

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The Retina MacBook Experiment: Conclusion

Back to the Mac

My Mac Pro came back from the Apple Store over the weekend, which means that I’m back to my usual setup of powerful desktop + iPad Pro.

It’s a relief.

The latest episode of Candid needed some audio repairs to fix a recording issue, and it was a breeze to fix and finish up the episode on the Mac Pro. Meanwhile, I’ve been working on a few longer articles and felt a pang of jealousy toward Josh’s MacBook Pro and its touch bar functionality with the terrific new update to Ulysses for the Mac.

Then I remembered that not only has the iPad version offered that functionality for a while, it’s also better on iOS since you’re able to see all the available options at a glance without having to scroll the Touch Bar to reveal the ones further in.

It’s an increasingly common example of macOS being the platform playing catch-up, and I admit that it’s disorienting for someone who

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The Retina MacBook Experiment: Day 4

Are we there yet?

I keep making things worse for myself.

Instead of trying to use the MacBook exclusively, my inner pragmatist insists I continue to use the best tool for the job. And the iPad remains the better tool for many jobs—reading, email processing, document annotation, music sketches, web browsing, note taking, video watching, social media, and interpersonal communication being the main ones for me.

The laptop remains better at file management, serious audio work, and the shrinking category of tasks that isn’t necessarily better on a computer but can only be accomplished there because the software capability hasn’t made its way to iOS yet. Things involving the Adobe suite, or Sketch, or any number of other specialized professional software that has no mobile equivalent of sufficient power.

This has left me bouncing back and forth between MacBook and iPad a lot this week

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The Retina MacBook Experiment: Day 3

Death to Dropbox

Now I understand why people complain about Dropbox’s performance penalty.

If you’ve been on a desktop machine like I have, it’s easy to miss Dropbox’s presence. You have no battery to worry about, and the machine will typically have enough horsepower to mask the initial sync activity.

Well, this MacBook offers a peek behind the curtain. I don’t like what I see.

 Dropbox, Energy Hog

I was going to write about how disappointing this MacBook’s battery life has been, but then I realized that I can’t blame the hardware: it’s entirely Dropbox’s fault.

As I perform the initial sync (not even a full one, just a selective sync of key folders), I’ve experienced a battery drain of about 40% per hour, give or take. This is beyond unacceptable, and the culprit is clear:

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I will continue to monitor its impact after it finishes the initial sync later today, but in the meantime

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The Retina MacBook Experiment: Day 2

One thing at a time

I quickly learned that trying to multitask too much on this machine isn’t going to work. It’s not that it can’t do it, per se, but the performance of each task suffers as you ask it to do more things in parallel.

Instead, I’m having to work the same way I do on my iPad: in a focused manner that prioritizes single task immersion and discourages distraction. I see this as a positive thing.

 Writing

Today turned out to be a writing day. Writing emails, writing documents, and writing articles—like this one. If this machine ends up winning me over, it will be because of the strength of the writing experience.

Popping Ulysses or iA Writer into full screen mode presents a blank, beautiful canvas. A very similar canvas to the one on my iPad Pro, but with some subtle improvements. Most notably, there’s no persistent shortcut bar stuck to the bottom of the screen (probably

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The Retina MacBook Experiment: Day 1

I poked the screen a lot

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I love how easy it is to set up a new computer these days.

It took less than an hour to go from zero to ready (at least for everything non-musical) on this MacBook, but getting used to being back on a laptop is going to take a lot longer.

 Back Up…Why Are You On a MacBook?

Remember how I was whining about how hard it is to upgrade computers these days? Well, I upgraded my computer shortly after writing that. I found a terrific deal on a second-hand cylinder Mac Pro and decided to grab it.

I know I said I wouldn’t, but my thinking was…

  • a) I’m used to machines that are built to operate under heavy load for long periods of time, so it’ll bother me if my replacement does any kind of thermal throttling
  • b) Even if a new Mac Pro or iMac comes out, I won’t be able to afford the configuration I’d want

The second realization was the tipping point because it

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