New PC, “Focus Ring” #3, etc. (Podcast 76)

by | Feb 23, 2007 | Fundamentals, Gear, Podcast | 0 comments

This week I’m going to have to do another quick show, as various tasks, in addition to a busy day job, have prevented me once again from preparing a more in-depth episode. Listen on to hear about what I’ve been up to and what will hopefully be coming in the next few weeks.

So, it’s been a great week, with lots of exciting stuff happening for me, but unfortunately that has held me back a little as far as creating a proper Podcast is concerned. Basically though, starting with Sunday, just after lunch all the parts for me to build my own PC arrived. I’d spent an evening the previous week looking through a magazine on how to build a Vista PC, with some advice about hardware compatibility, and the following day spend about four hours online, in the Web shop of a store I sometimes by parts from here in Tokyo, called Tsukumo. They don’t have an English Web site from what I can make out, so I won’t bother putting a link into the show-notes. Anyway, having carefully checked the Vista support for all of the components, I placed my order, to make a bit of a monster PC, which is what arrived after lunch on the following Sunday.

So, I got my little white antistatic gloves on and put the CPU and memory on the mother but, then put the Power Unit into the case followed by the mother board. After that I started to connect all the wires and some thermal sensors that came with the case, and inserting the video card and hard disks etc. The one mistake I made was somehow overlooking that a TV Capture card, that I thought I’d removed from the final list was still in the order, and it is not Vista compatible, so I’m trying to find out if I can send it back, but I doubt I can. Anyway, apart from that, it all went pretty smoothly so I now have a quad-core Extreme CPU machine with 4GB of RAM. I’ve spent the rest of this week installing Vista and Office 2007 etc. and I also found that the English version of the final Lightroom runs fine on Japanese Windows XP and Vista, so I cancelled my order for the Japanese version and bought the English version yesterday too. The beta versions of English Lightroom had lots of garbled characters when installed on Japanese Windows, but this is no longer the case, and of course, English is my native language, so there are no problems there either. It will probably be better actually, as that means I’ll be able to quote buttons and option names directly from the UI, without having to think of an appropriate translation when giving advice on Post Processing. I will also be able to use screen shots etc. too, which I can’ t do currently because all of my software is Japanese.

So, the bank manager will be breaking down my door when the credit card bill arrives, and I’m about to be divorced for spending far too much money as usual, but I’m really looking forward to being able to blaze through my post processing with the slowest component now being my own creative thinking, and not the PC. The other exciting thing that happened this week is that on Monday morning, I got up a little earlier than usual, and sat at my PC to record a session of the Photocast Network Round Table, now known as the Focus Ring. I’d been looking forward to getting involved since we discussed this as a group a while back, but had to stay out of it for a while because of my trip to the UK. Now I’m back though and firing on all cylinders again, I thought it would be good to get involved and so I stepped up. Of course, this meant that the Chris Marquardt of the Tips from the Top Floor had to stay up until midnight, and John Arnold of the PhotoWalkthrough Podcast also had to stay up until after 11PM. Not quite so bad time-wise, but Ibarionex Perello of the Candid Frame Podcast, also had to make time in the middle of a busy day, all to enable me to join from Japan, so thanks for that guys, and for making it such an interesting and pleasurable discussion. It was great talking with you.

I won’t be getting involved in every episode from now on, as we are hoping to give other Photocast Network members a chance to be heard, but I will try and join in again in a few episodes, as it really is great fun. The Focus Ring Podcast now has its own feed, so I suggest you subscribe to that in iTunes or your favourite aggregator, if you haven’t already, and give it a listen. Oh, and as Landon mentioned in the MBP forum, please listen to the very end, as there’s some funny out-takes after the music starts playing us out. I’ll put a link to the PCN page in the show-notes, but you can search for the Photocast Network Roundtable, and hopefully soon for the Focus Ring Podcast in iTunes as well.

So, once I get my Vista PC up and running with Photoshop CS2 and Lightroom, I’m going to start going through my images from my UK trip. As I mentioned last week, it wasn’t a photography trip, but I should have some good shots to share with you, and as I mention in the Focus Ring Podcast, I will be sharing some shots from around four hours or so in the Chester Zoo as well, just as soon as I get myself sorted out. If you want a sneak preview of some of the photos I’ll be talking about, take a look at the image now being displayed on your iPod or in iTunes, or enter m, for “member”, followed by the number 4114 with no spaces, into the field at the top page or on the Podcasts page at and then click the orange button. I’m not going to go into details, but this is one of my favourite shots from the Chester zoo trip. I have actually entered this as my entry for the Silence Assignment, but remember even if you like it, please don’t vote for me. I am not eligible for the prize, so I’d prefer it if you saved your votes for other members. I’ve checked actually and noticed that one person has voted for me, so if it’s you, please go to the members’ gallery at and change your vote to someone else. Of course, I’m flattered at receiving your vote and thank you for it, but I’d prefer you to assign it someone else to increase their chances of winning the Lowepro Camera Bag and one of my prints.

Involuntary Silence

Sorry for the short episode today. I will hopefully be back to releasing closer to my normal schedule at the beginning of each week pretty soon. Don’t forget as I just mentioned we are now voting for the winner of the Silence Assignment. You’ll be able to vote until the end of March the 4th, so please take the time to look through the excellent images that have been entered and select your favourite by hitting the vote button above the image in the gallery. You have to register to be able to vote, but it only takes a minute and of course it’s totally free. I also encourage you to vote at the main site at as I am still clinging to the hope that I’ll one day find the time to merge the two sites, and having the same username and email address registered will make it much easier to do so. Also of course, the main web site is where the photography forum is and that is frequented by the best crowd of people that I’ve ever come across in any online community. In fact, as I haven’t said this for a long time, I’d just like to thank all the current members for being such a great bunch.

I’d also like to call out once again for questions that you’d like me to answer in a future Podcast. I have a Mobotalk applet on the top page at that allows you to record audio messages that I can pick up and include in the Podcast. All you need a mic on your PC and you should be able to record a message, so it would be great to hear from some of you. Of course you can simply record a big hello for the other listeners, but questions on just about any photography related topic are very welcome. If it takes a lot of answering, I’ll do a whole Podcast on it. If it doesn’t take so much answering, I’ll save it until I get a few others and batch them into a single show as soon as possible. If you ask a question that I have no way of answering, I’ll try to find an expert in that field and either interview them or get the info you need and read it out for them. I look forward to hearing from you.

And with that, I’ll call it a day and get back to setting up my new PC. Thanks for listening, and we’ll catch with each other again next week. Bye-bye.

Show Notes
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