The Voice UK Series 4 Live Show Spoilers

The live shows may still be a few weeks away but we’ve still the pre recorded battle and knockout stages to get through now the blind auditions are complete. But just who gets through the battles and the knockouts to make it through to the live shows. Let’s find out:

Team Will: Sheena McHugh, Lucy O’Byrne, Vikesh Champaneri.
Team Rita: Karis Thomas, Clark Carmody, Joe Woolford
Team Tom: Sasha Simone, Howard Rose, Lara Lee
Team Ricky: Emmanuel Nwamadi, Autumn Sharif, Stevie McCrorie

Complaints to the BBC!

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Apple Photos App – A Photographer’s Review

Apple have today released the first beta of OS X 10.10.3 which contains the first released build of the new Photos App which is to replace both iPhoto (which was targeted at the consumer end of the market) and Aperture (which was targeted for the professional end of the market). I sit firmly in the Aperture end of the market as someone who is presently in higher education studying photography and after a brief play with photos I am sad to say: IT SUCKS!

Photos on first launch will seek out your Aperture and/or iPhoto libraries and offer to migrate them to photos. By migrate this means create a copy of the library you choose to import and set that up as a photos library. Not too bad if you have a small library but if you have thousands and thousands of photos, as I do on my iMac you will suddenly find yourself with two large photo libraries taking up space on your disk. When it does launch the rather iOSesque interface pops up.

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 20.11.32

From this interface you can browse your photos however any form of project organisation is gone with photos simply organised by date and location now.

Going into editing and Apple have really gone back to basics. By default the only options available are for Light, Colour and Black and White. Expanding these options brings more familiar sliders such as Exposure, Highlights and Shadows. Looking for more advanced(!) stuff like White Balance, a histogram and Levels? Well it’s turned off by default because clearly Apple feel these advanced controls should be buried away where no one can use them by mistake!

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 20.29.56

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 20.27.48


If you want to make localised edits or brush in effects well you are out of luck. The only brushes to make it in are a healing brush which works fine for minor blemishes and a red eye removal brush. Fancy some dodge and burn? Or softening a model’s skin? Tough!

Which brings me onto possibly the biggest gripe with this app. As woeful as it is compared to even the hideously outdated Aperture for making edits at least you can always use an external editor like Photoshop to do one of the many things that Photos is incapable of. Nope! Gone are any form of external editor options which means if you want to edit it in photoshop you’ll need to export the image out of photos to a folder in finder, edit in photoshop and then import the edited file back into photos. A ridiculously lengthy and complicated process to achieve something that previously would take two clicks of the mouse!

It is clear from just a few minutes with this app that Apple are targeting the iPhoto section of the market. Which is fine but even iPhoto users will find the app lacking in features compared to iPhoto. Although the ability to order Books, Calendars and Cards remains in and seems to function as well as previously, gone are the fun email templates. My Mum loved receiving postcard emails from iPhoto when me, my partner and the boys went on holiday last year. No longer possible in photos with just the option to send photos as standard attachments. Boring! The cynic in me suspects these didn’t make the cut whereas print products did because print products of course make Apple money. Fun email templates don’t!

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(fun emails like this: no longer possible in photos)

Adobe have been quick in trying to capitalise on Apple’s virtual abandonment of photographers by offering cheap photography creative cloud packages and the ability to import libraries from Aperture. In spite of this, some die hard Aperture users have stuck around waiting to see what photos bring. I suspect many more of them will be making the leap to Adobe and those that don’t will have a ticking time bomb on their hands as every OS X update brings the possibility that Aperture will stop working with no compatibility update to come.

Although this is still a beta app and it is possible Apple could resolve some of the more glaring omissions to make this app workable for not only iPhoto users but also possibly some of those who have stuck with Aperture through thick and thin. However as it is, Photos is unlikely to satisfy either user base and will be nothing more than a huge disappointment for all. Photos’ integration with iCloud Photo Library is about the only positive I can draw from an app full of negatives (this post would have been 10 times longer were I to list them all). However the ability to sync your library across multiple devices, and pay Apple for the privilege if you have even an average sized photo library as you will need more iCloud storage, does not make up for the fact that photos is very very lacking.

Apple Reuse and Recycling Review

For the last month or so I’ve had the unfortunate experience of having to deal with the Apple Reuse and Recycling Service provided by Dataserv and felt the need to review my experience so others don’t experience the poor service provided by the scheme.

Early October I arranged to sell my old iPhone 5 64GB and checked a number of recycling sites and found that Apple offered the best price of ¬£220. I filled out my details on Apple’s Website and packaged up my phone to send to them.

On 7th October I handed my phone over at the post office and obtained a receipt. Days pass by into weeks and 2 weeks later I chase up to be told that they have received my phone and it is on its way to their logistics hub to be assessed. A few days later I receive an email confirming receipt, advising my phone would be tested soon and asking for bank details to make the payment to me. This is the last I have heard from them in spite of sending an additional email chasing things up.

It is now over a month since I sent them my phone and I am still to receive a payment from them. Sadly having done some further searching, experiences like mine seem to be common place. Other mobile recyclers pay within a matter of days, often on the day of receipt. It seems with Apple’s officially endorsed service that what should take a few days can actually take a few months. Which I’m sure for many Apple customers is far less than the level of service one would expect from a company endorsed by Apple to the point where it is featured on their website.

Emails were sent to Dataserv and Apple prior to posting this review without a response from either party.

EDIT – well it’s amazing what a bit of negative publicity on a fairly high traffic blog can do as Dataserv have now replied and have also paid me by faster payments and the money is in my account. So the whole process from start to finish starting from when I posted my phone has taken the grand total of 36 days. A process that would take any other recycling service less than 7. I do have to write one positive thing though, at least they didn’t try and claim the phone had cosmetic damage and reduce my quote accordingly. Which is a shame as I was really hoping they would claim the screen was scratched or something similar as the entire front of the phone was replaced under AppleCare prior to sending the phone off

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