Aperture 2

aperture.jpgWith the tremendous functionality of all the software that comes included with every Mac (the iLife suite), one tends to forget that Apple also makes pro versions for more serious users. Aperture 2 is the pro complement to iPhoto and it’s a fabulous piece of software. In a nutshell, it’s workflow software for the serious photographer. Something of a digital darkroom. Priced at 199 € (or 199 $ in the USA), you get a whole lot more functionality than iPhoto gives you when it comes to tweaking your images. It’s all the more so if you’ve shot your images in the RAW format. In this case, it’s really amazing the degree to which you can correct and enhance the images you’ve captured. It’s also fast, makes great use of screen real estate, and very logical in the way it helps you work through many pictures fast (a problem we all face considering the free nature of digital photography).

Apple has made for Aperture a dedicated video tutorial site to get you to learn the whole thing quickly and efficiently. It’s very well done avoiding you hours of reading boring manuals. Online learning is now really a fact of life.

I’ll finish by saying that you can find all the information about Aperture here and that if you own a DSLR (a digital reflex camera) and are serious about your photography you should buy this.

Death Magnetic

Death Magnetic.jpg

The lords of metal are back. After more than 15 years of absence… Yep, 15 years ! How can I say this when there were three studio albums in those 15 years ? Well, Load and Reload were more Southern Rock than metal andSaint Anger was just angry and pathetic (and with the worst sound of all their albums). So yes, I consider this their first album in 15 years. It should have been called Death Avoided. My review will be short and to the point : this is their best album ever 🙂 It has the most incredible speed metal riffs (courtesy of James Hetfield), the best drumming Lars Ulrich has ever done, fabulous solos and a bass you can actually (sometimes) hear. Overwhelming power ! It just feels like a giant kick in the ass !

I’m quite sure that loads of fans like me (Gen Xers in their late thirties and early forties) that had slowly drifted elsewhere had very low expectations for this album. Metallica had a clever site set up to wet everyone’s appetite. However, the album and it’s raw, boundless, fabulous energy still came as a total surprise. It is simply a must buy if you ever liked the genre !