Injured pair back in the frame for Heart

MELBOURNE Heart might be without hamstrung skipper Fred for Friday night’s clash with A-League new boys West Sydney, but the club should be able to call on key midfielder Matt Thompson and target-man Dylan Macallister, both of whom limped out of Sunday’s disappointing home loss to Central Coast.
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Both trained with the Heart first-team squad on Wednesday in a line-up that indicated utility Jason Hoffman might get the nod to come into the starting 11 in place of Fred.

Heart will be hoping West Sydney suffers something of a let-down after the euphoria of its first win, on the road against champion Brisbane, last weekend.

The pressure will be on Tony Popovic’s team to deliver in front of its own supporters after that first success, although there is plenty at stake for the visitors too after their failure to capitalise on a strong start to the new A-League season.

Striker David Williams believes it won’t take much to turn things around.

”I guarantee we will go through a run of form quite soon that will get a lot of people talking about Melbourne Heart,” Williams said on Wednesday.

”I feel as a team collectively we’ve been doing very well on the training park but it’s hard to talk about training because no one really sees training – they only see the games.”

More self-belief is what is required, the forward says.

”We have the backing of the coaches but, when we go out there, we have to 100 per cent know it’s a game for us and be confident of winning.”

Meanwhile, Melbourne Victory is optimistic it will regain Brazilian midfielder Gui Finkler for its Cup-eve clash with Wellington Phoenix after the import missed the away loss to Newcastle in round four with a groin problem.

”I felt the injury a little bit before the Adelaide game but I said, ‘I’m going to play’. I was feeling good and after the game it was really sore,” said Finkler.

He said he was still getting used to the demands of the Australian league: ”In Brazil they play a different way, they play more possession, but I am trying to improve at training and it is going to take a little bit of time.”

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Review: Adobe Photoshop Elements 11

Price: $144Worthwhile improvements
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The low-down: This is Adobe’s annual upgrade of its cut-down photo-editing program. Changes, for the better, have been made to the user interface. There are still three options for editing – Quick, Guided and Expert – and the Expert layout is now cleaner and a little more like the big Photoshop interface. Quick and Guided are still oriented to the user who wants automation rather than precise control. The Create tab opens up the options to print or to turn photos into cards, books, calendars or CD/DVD covers and labels.

Like: A slightly reduced version of Adobe Camera Raw can be set as the front-end of Elements 11 to open and adjust RAW files before editing. This feature puts Elements above most alternatives and gives a more serious feel to the program. The new way of running Actions is an improvement, although it is still not possible to record. The guided Perfect Portrait function – including Slim Down – works well.

Dislike: The inability to create Actions (macros).

Verdict: Anyone coming to Elements from the big Photoshop will be frustrated by its limitations, but for a newcomer with limited demands, the program should do nicely. But Elements is up against some stiff competition. At the sophisticated end of photo editing is Corel’s AfterShot Pro, $88. And at the simple end are the applications included in operating systems: iPhoto on the Mac and Live Photo Gallery for Windows. Elements has more specialised photo finishing options but at the basic level of image editing, its only big advantage over the built-in applications is the Adobe Camera RAW front-end.

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Microsoft launches Modern warfare

MICROSOFT has gone back to the drawing board with Windows 8, reinventing itself for the post-PC era. In the ever-changing world of technology, the familiar Windows desktop has remained consistent for almost 20 years. But Windows 8 ushers in a total redesign intended to unite Microsoft’s computers and hand-held gadgets with a single touch-friendly interface. While it may appeal to the touchscreen generation, Windows 8’s new look presents a steep learning curve for those not familiar with smartphones and tablets.
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Windows 8 is built around the new tile-based ”Modern UI” interface borrowed from touchscreen devices. It’s the first thing you’ll see when you start up a desktop or notebook computer running Windows 8, plus it’s the basis of Microsoft’s new Surface tablets and Windows Phone 8 smartphones. With Modern UI you can use your finger to tap and flick your way around Windows Store apps, similar to an Apple or Android tablet. If you’re upgrading an old computer to Windows 8, you can still get by with only a keyboard and mouse, but many new Windows 8 notebooks and even some desktops feature touchscreen displays.

For many people, the loss of the traditional Windows desktop will be disorienting at first, as if you’d sat down in a car with no steering wheel. But once you get to know Modern UI, you realise it’s more than capable of handling most of your day-to-day tasks, such as checking your email, browsing the web, playing games and even editing documents. One of its strengths is tight integration with Microsoft’s Hotmail email service (now called ”Outlook”), SkyDrive online storage, Xbox 360 gaming platform and Office applications such as Word and Excel.

The key to finding your way around Modern UI and Windows Store apps is to master the idea of swiping your finger in from the top, bottom or side of the screen to call up various menus. It’s not dissimilar to swiping your finger down from the top of an Android or Apple gadget to see your list of notifications. You can also perform these gestures on Windows 8 with a mouse or trackpad, but they’re more natural and intuitive on touchscreen devices such as tablets.

While Microsoft is a latecomer to the touchscreen revival, it’s actually leading the way in offering the same user experience on desktops, notebooks, tablets and smartphones. You can run many of the same applications on all of your Windows 8 devices, from Microsoft Word and Internet Explorer to touch-friendly games such as Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja.

Right now this unified experience is Microsoft’s key strength over the competition. The difficulty for Microsoft is convincing people to take the leap, as Microsoft’s new smartphones and tablets can struggle to stand out from their Apple and Android alternatives.

Thankfully it is possible to hide Modern UI on a Windows 8 desktop or notebook computer to reveal the traditional Windows desktop. This means you can still run desktop software such as Photoshop, which isn’t designed for the tablet-style Modern UI.

But once you find the Windows 8 desktop, you’re still in for a few surprises. The biggest is that Microsoft has killed off the iconic Start menu – a change likely to flummox a generation of Windows users. Once again it is possible to survive without the Start menu, but it can be a difficult transition.

It’s quite telling that PC makers such as Acer and retailers including Harvey Norman are offering free online tutorials and phone support for new Windows 8 customers. Moving to Windows 8 presents a steep learning curve on desktop and notebook computers, but the touch-friendly Modern UI feels more natural on Microsoft’s new Surface tablets.

Microsoft is offering two tablet models: the Surface RT and Surface Pro. The key difference is that the Surface RT runs Windows RT – offering only the Modern UI interface and tablet-style apps. You can’t run desktop Windows software, such as Photoshop, on Windows RT. In this way the Surface RT is like an iPad or Android tablet, although right now these competitors have access to a lot more touchscreen apps and a wider range of accessories. The Surface RT’s strengths include its

micro-SD slot and full-sized USB port. Both options are lacking from the iPad, and while most Android devices accept micro-SD cards, few offer a full-sized USB port.

The Surface RT tablet is already available for order, at similar pricing to the iPad, and you’ve the option of a Surface case with a built-in keyboard. Meanwhile, we’re unlikely to see the more expensive Surface Pro until January. Priced similar to the slimline Windows 8 notebooks, the Surface Pro tablet offers the best of both worlds. Just like a Windows 8 desktop or notebook, the Surface Pro runs both Modern UI with Windows Store apps and traditional desktop software, such as Photoshop.

While Microsoft has taken the unusual move of releasing its own ”Surface” Windows 8 tablets, hardware makers such as Acer, Asus, Dell, Lenovo and Toshiba are also offering Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets. You’ll even find hybrid devices, such as notebooks with detachable keyboards.

The final piece of the puzzle is Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 software, set to run on new smartphones from brands such as Nokia, HTC and Samsung. Improvements with Windows Phone 8 help bring it into line with competitors such as Apple’s iPhone 5 and Samsung’s Galaxy S III 4G. Unfortunately, current Windows Phone 7 handsets can’t run Windows Phone 8, but they will get a Windows 7.8 update to match Modern UI styling.

Nokia’s coming Lumia 920 runs Windows Phone 8 and offers cutting-edge features such as wireless charging and LTE 4G for high-speed mobile broadband. You’ll also find Near Field Communications for short-range interactions, including linking to a digital wallet that can hold credit card and loyalty card details. Nokia is also building on its strong camera heritage as well as impressive mapping features.

Individually, all these new Windows 8 devices have an uphill battle against established competitors, but Windows 8 is more than the sum of its parts. Microsoft is hoping that the slick Modern UI interface on Windows 8 computers will encourage people to embrace Windows 8 phones and tablets, and vice versa. While it presents a daunting leap for some people, the touch-friendly Windows 8 may offer Microsoft’s best chance of success in the post-PC era.

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Apple takes smaller bite

AT THE Apple media event held last week amid the gilded rococo splendour of the historic California Theatre in San Jose in the heart of Silicon Valley, one thought briefly of the man sorting oranges – ”it’s all the choices that drive me mad”.
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Yes, we got the expected iPad Mini, and beautiful it is. But before that, chief executive Tim Cook and Apple marketing veteran Phil Schiller rolled out an impressive list of new devices.

Out came a new 13-inch MacBook Pro with a Retina Display to join the 15-inch model launched a month ago. A more powerful version of the Mac Mini component computer was followed by a fourth-generation full-size iPad with a new, faster A6X microprocessor and then, surprising everyone, a totally new, amazingly catwalk-model slim, more powerful iMac that almost overshadowed the guest of honour, the iPad Mini.

Apple had to have the mini iPad. It wasn’t covering the market for smaller-screen devices, in which Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Google’s Nexus 7 were proving that while screen acreage remains important, some people want less bulk in their bags and less weight on their hands when reading in bed.

Price is important, too. The iPad Mini is a tad above where analysts see the buyers’ sweet spot, but Apple’s quality, design and ecosystem should cover that.

At the after-launch media scrum I got to play with a mini iPad. I cannot see it replacing my iPad, yet for some functions, such as for reading books in bed, it is tempting.

All 275,000 iPad apps in the App Store will run on it because both big and little iPads share the same pixel count – 1024 by 768 – so developers won’t have to change a single line of code.

Do you need, as Steve Jobs once quipped, sandpaper to hone down your fingers for the smaller screen? No, although I think on more complex webpages a stylus might be handy; plenty are available and some people use them on big iPads.

Is the virtual keyboard more difficult to use on the smaller screen? No. Obviously, it is easier than an iPhone or iPod Touch keyboard but even they are no problem unless you have big bratwurst fingers.

Otherwise, in all respects and functions the mini is all-iPad. I think it is going to give the Kindle and the Nexus a real run for their money.

In terms of usable screen acreage, the iPad Mini pushes the narrower Nexus out of the ring. Videos on the Nexus suffer from letterboxing. The iPad Mini, with its wider 7.9-inch screen, is still good to hold in one hand but has 37 per cent more screen area than the seven-inch Androids and, Apple says, gives 67 per cent more usable viewing area when browsing the web.

The iPad Mini is elegantly designed and well built as only Apple does, with a beautifully finished aluminium and glass body, either shiny silver or anodised matt grey-black, according to whether the screen bezel is black or white. It is 7.2 millimetres thin and weighs 308 grams (about the same as a paper notebook).

Performance is comparable with the big iPad: it has an Apple-designed dual-core A5 chip, wi-fi specs up to the latest dual-band 802.11n, giving twice the speed of earlier iPads, a front-facing FaceTime HD camera and a five-megapixel iSight camera on the back. Battery life of up to 10 hours is claimed.

The cellular versions cover 3G DC-HSDPA and 4G LTE broadband standards. Personal Hotspot is included, allowing up to five other devices, such as a MacBook or another iPad, to connect via wi-fi, Bluetooth or USB to a cellular connection.

About here we should touch on the new fourth-generation full-size iPad, which boasts a new Apple-designed A6X microprocessor, said to double the CPU and graphics performance of the A5X. It also has a FaceTime HD camera, dual-band 802.11n wi-fi and 4G LTE. Storage is 16 gigabytes, 32GB and 64GB in all versions of mini and full-size iPads.

All new devices, the iPhone 5, iPads Mini and full-size, have the new, smaller Lightning connector replacing the 30-pin socket. A range of adaptors for USB, SD cards, HDMI and VGA is available.

Pre-orders are now open, with deliveries of the wi-fi versions expected to start on November 2 and of the wi-fi-plus-cellular versions a few weeks later.

Prices for the iPad mini start at $369 for the 16GB, wi-fi-only version, and at $509 for the 16GB wi-fi+4G version.

Garry Barker travelled to San Jose as the guest of Apple.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

A vision for perfection

HENRI Cartier-Bresson was one of the great photographers of the 20th century. He was also a prickly and haughty individual with total confidence in his own artistic superiority. And he created thousands of masterpieces with the simplest equipment, even if it did bear the famous name of Leica.
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His biographer, Pierre Assouline (Henri Cartier-Bresson: A Biography, Thames & Hudson, $33.95) tells something of the man’s working methods. He used a Leica M4 or 3G, with the chrome covered with black tape to make them less conspicuous. He had one preferred lens, a 50-millimetre Elmar ”that doesn’t cheat because it allows the photographer to view the world at eye level”. He usually carried, but rarely used, a 90mm and a 35mm lens.

The 50mm prime on a 35mm film camera is considered the ”standard” lens because its perspective comes close to matching the eye, seeing the world the way we do. Those of us who bought our first cameras in the 1950s and ’60s remember them coming with 50mm lenses and, for most of us, that was all we had. The Pentax S1, the first mass-market single-lens reflex camera, came with a screw-mount 55mm Takumar lens, justly famed for its sharpness and contrast.

Cartier-Bresson’s cameras had no automatic metering or autofocus. ”When it came to measuring light and distance, he relied on instinct,” Assouline writes. Not so much instinct, we would suggest, more experience. His set shutter speed was 1/125th of a second, so he only had to adjust the aperture to suit the light. His film stock was Kodak Tri-X rated at ISO 400 and ”flash, to him, was an act of barbarism … that cut off all human feeling”.

The most challenging of Cartier-Bresson’s self-imposed rules was the one that stipulated there should be no cropping of his images. As a photojournalist working on assignment for magazines, he reluctantly accepted the prerogative of the editor and designer to crop his photos, but he always detested the results. His composition in the Leica viewfinder was, in his opinion, perfect. His early training and his ambition was as an artist, not a photographer, and he had an artist’s obsession with the integrity of his original vision.

Early in his photographic career he observed that the interesting subject is rarely the parade, which everyone else will photograph anyway, but the faces and actions of the spectators. In 1937, he was sent to London by Ce Soir as part of a team to report on the coronation of George VI. On the day, ”he was more interested in people’s faces than in all the ceremony … He simply turned his back on the parade and looked for reflections of the coronation in the expressions and attitudes of the people watching it.”

Keep that in mind next year when you go to Moomba or the Anzac Day parade.

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