Marius Masalar

Photographer, Technology Writer, Podcaster

Read this first

My Inbox is For You

At the beginning of April, one of my business partners was away for a couple of weeks.

Her email vacation responder pointed people to my inbox, which gave me an opportunity to experience what email is like for everyone else. I’ve seen the tweets, glanced over at other peoples’ home screens to witness the red doom sausage of ten thousand unread emails, lost in time. It bewilders me.

Chris Coyier (you know him as the guy behind CSS-Tricks, or perhaps as co-founder of CodePen) recently started a blog about email, and a lot of it resonates with me.

From his latest post about people who say they’re terrible at email:

It downright scares me when I hear this from otherwise successful people. It’s straight up saying “I’m unreliable” which is a truly bizarre thing to announce, even if it’s true…I quite literally don’t want to work with someone, in any capacity, who I can’t expect email

Continue reading →


iPhone X: Five Months In

Better in every way but one

Sometimes, I read other people’s reviews of devices I own and wonder if we’re actually using the same thing. The iPhone X is one such device.

Since launch, a strange narrative has emerged that Face ID—the new biometric authentication system replacing Touch ID—is decent, but definitely not as good as Touch ID yet. Some people are having quite a lot of trouble getting it to work well, it seems.

I believe them, of course, but my own experience has been dramatically different. So much so that it’s forced me to be patient about putting thoughts down about the iPhone X in case I was too blinded by the initial honeymoon glow to see its flaws.

Five months in, I’m confident that any rosey tint has been eradicated from my vision and I can give you an honest account of what it’s been like to live with Apple’s next-gen flagship.

 Face ID

Let’s just get this out of

Continue reading →


Nope.

An album of rejected cues, sketches, demos, and other orphaned works from my musical catalogue

🎶

nope.jpg

Over the years I’ve spent writing music for media, there’s been a slowly-accumulating pile of work left languishing on my hard drives.

Innocent victims of cancelled projects, creative differences, or their own experimental nature.

It’s a big pile, but I recently plumbed its depths to uncover some of my favourites, and today I’m happy to share those with you in the form of a new album called Nope.

Over the course of more than 30 tracks, you’ll hear a wide range of music spanning several genres and a decade of effort. Some of these were written for film and advertising, others for games, and others still were demos for sound libraries or my experiments with new instruments.

It’s an eclectic collection, including some old gems and featuring a few tracks that have never before been

Continue reading →


How to Remove the ‘OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA’ Caption From Your Photos

Ridding yourself of the mandatory metadata

For whatever reason, Olympus hasn’t yet fixed this peculiar firmware frustration on any of their cameras, including the flagship E-M1 Mark II.

Any photo taken on an Olympus camera is assigned an all-caps ‘OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA’ label in the caption field of the metadata. This can be annoying because it’s not immediately evident that this is happening, but whenever you post it on a social network or other platform that surfaces this data, you’ll suddenly find it attached to your photo as the title or description.

Luckily, while there’s no way to stop the camera from adding this metadata in the first place, it’s easy enough to remove automatically on import if you use Adobe Lightroom.

Here’s how:

  1. Open Lightroom’s Library tab
  2. In the sidebar, find the Metadata section and click the Preset dropdown at the top
  3. Choose Edit Presets… and in the

Continue reading →


“A Dollop of Permission” Craig Mod on Creative Tools →

Craig is one of those drop-everything-and-read-his-new-piece kind of essayists.

He’s talking about tools this time, and describing a way of looking at the relationship between creatives and the tools they use:

I’ve come to think of tools as granters of permission. Things from which an artist can divine permission — the permission flowing either from the formal attributes of the tool to artist, or from the artist’s perception of the tool back into themselves. Either direction gets you to the same place. Many of us, to varying degrees, fetishize certain objects as having magical powers that enable, most often, creative processes.

It’s no surprise that he uses cameras as an example, and this ties back to what I’ve been struggling to internalize myself. Gear isn’t irrelevant in the discussion of creative work, but its importance is often misattributed to technical excellence. That’s not

Continue reading →


Olympus E-M1 Mark II

My Camera

1.jpg

What would it take to convince you?

I started asking myself that several months into owning and shooting with the E-M1 Mark II. What would it take to convince me that this smaller-sensor flagship could handle not just my travel and personal shooting, but the full load of professional work as well?

I asked myself while I had a review unit shortly after the camera’s release. I asked myself when I subsequently bought my own copy. I asked myself when I took it out on its first job. I asked myself when I stopped taking my X-Pro 2 to work shoots, then to personal shoots. I asked myself when deciding which camera to trust with my once-in-a-lifetime trip to Africa.

I trusted the E-M1 Mark II as my camera on that trip, and near the end of last year, I licensed a photo to Apple; it was shot on my E-M1 Mark II.

I had my answer.

2.jpg

 The Grass is Always Greener

I’m a geek, but worse

Continue reading →


The Thing Is…

Filed under the same category as my frustration with people who say they “could care less” when trying to express the opposite sentiment, I want to talk about “the thing is”.

I don’t know why, but in recent years I’ve heard a dramatic and terrifying increase in the appearance of these sorts of nonsensical redundancies in people’s speech:

  • The thing is is that…
  • The reason being is that…

Otherwise perfectly articulate and intelligent people have started succumbing to this syntactic syndrome. Podcasts, talks, daily conversation…I hear it everywhere. Is it contagious? What is going on here‽

I understand that language evolves, sometimes at the expense of grammar, but this isn’t some quirky colloquialism: it sounds uneducated.

And so, a humble plea: if you’re going to use these phrases, take a moment to think about what you’re saying. Eloquence matters.

Continue reading →


To The Moon

A piercing meditation on the nature of life and the paths we do and do not take through it

tothemoon-10.png

I don’t even know where to begin with this one.

When I was a kid, I remember using RPG Maker to craft small narrative adventures with my friends. They were janky, but somehow their mechanical awkwardness shone a spotlight on other elements—like the story.

This effect is at the centre of To The Moon’s appeal. It’s not a terribly difficult or innovative gaming experience, but it is a triumph of interactive narrative, with more heart and impact than any other game in recent memory. More emotion is packed into these pixels than any blockbuster.

tothemoon-6.png

I blazed through it on iOS in two days and came out so deeply affected that Shannon felt compelled to play through it as well to see why. She finished it the same day she started it, unable to put it down.

 Emotional Dynamics

Telling a compelling story

Continue reading →


Things 3.4 Introduces Automation →

A robust URL scheme, app integrations, and more stuff I can’t seem to find a use for

incredible-machinery-lossless.png

I have something of a love/hate relationship with Workflow and iOS automation in general. As an iOS “power user”, there’s an expectation that I should use Workflow to speed up various aspects of my daily routine.

Yet try as I might, I cannot find many opportunities where Workflow actually improves my productivity, speeds up my workflows, or helps me accomplish things any faster than I can without it. This is a failing on my part, admittedly, because it seems everyone else gets it.

And that isn’t to say I don’t enjoy trying.

I’ve been spending the past few weeks teaching myself Workflow, largely by de-constructing the Workflows of others and trying to build variations. It’s fun, but beyond the geeky satisfaction of it I’m left with little more than a collection of Workflows that replicate things I

Continue reading →


Fujifilm X-E3

Exploring the X-Protegé

1.jpg

The X-E3 is to the X-Pro 2 as the X-T20 is to the X-T2.

Fujifilm has taken the DNA of the larger camera and stripped away some pro-oriented functionality in favour of a compact size, simple operation, and a lower price point.

In the case of the X-E3 though, they also gave it brand new features like Bluetooth connectivity, and some firmware adjustments that meant it actually had the fastest autofocus of any Fujifilm camera at launch.

In many ways, it’s the perfect secondary camera to the X-Pro 2. For newcomers to the system, I think it makes for a more compelling entry point than the X-T20, which I find ugly and uncomfortable to wield.

Cutting to the chase: this is a very appealing new camera, and I think its balance of features, performance, and price put it into a very favourable position for those considering a compact or companion system.

 Hardware

Continue reading →