Periodically I write columns to bring you up-to-date on topics that I've addressed in previous ones. This is one of those.
Printing papers, revisited
Years back I wrote about the quality control problems with inkjet papers, especially the Harman by Hahnemuhle Gloss Baryta. It had such severe quality control (QC) deficiencies that a majority of the sheets in a 13x19" box would be bad.
Their paper engineers worked hard on their QC. They did manage to improve things. Unfortunately, that meant the reject rate dropped back to a "mere" 25%. Not really acceptable.
I've been using Ilford Gallerie Gold Fibre Silk, which had almost-but-not-quite as nice a surface and has no quality control problems at all. Annoyingly, Ilford pulled a fast one last year. They renamed the product line from "Gallerie" to "Prestige" with much fanfare, and quietly upped the price by an astonishing 50%. Same product, just a sneaky price hike. I resent that.
Last fall, when I was in Toronto, Michael Reichmann recommended two papers: Canson Infinity Baryta Photographique and Platine Fibre Rag. Both are cheaper than Ilford. The Baryta paper is a lot cheaper, less than 60% of the cost of Gold Fibre Silk.
Fortunately, he said penuriously, that's my favorite of the two. It's just about a dead ringer for the Ilford paper. There's nothing wrong with the Platine, but it has a bit more of a surface texture, and I like my "air dried F-surface" papers to have less presence.
I gotta say the Harman paper still looks the best of all to me, but I can't deal with their QC issues.
What, no new iPad?
You guys know I'm on a regular iPad upgrade path:
So, how come nothing about last fall's new iPad or the one they just announced? Well, it's because I haven't upgraded. I wasn't expecting them to be trotting out incremental changes every four or five months. It's not about the money; the resale value on a top-end previous generation iPad is excellent. It's the time and hassle involved in switching machines. It just didn't seem worth it to me.
The beefier processor in last fall's model doesn't mean much for me yet (I may need a lot more when I start doing photo handling on the iPad). Unpromoted, though, was a beefier power supply. Only by 20%, but that should trim an hour off of the annoyingly-long charging time.
The model announced a few weeks ago matters more to me. My 64 GB iPad is 92% full. It's a fundamental law of physics: nature abhors an empty hard drive. What's stopping me from grabbing a 128 GB iPad is that I really haven't sussed out Apple's new release schedule. Is there going to be another major upgrade in the spring or are we just going to see incremental ones as they feel like it? I'm holding off a couple of months to see what's happening. Either way, expect a report on the latest and greatest, whatever that happens to be, sometime in the spring.
Speaking of fundamental laws of physics...
I buy yet another laptop drive
One of my reasons for testing that 960 GB SSD last fall was because my laptop's 500 GB drive was 95% full. That's a very bad regime to be working in. I need more space.
Unfortunately technical problems required me to pull that SSD. The holiday season kept me from getting it back to Other World Computing for analysis until just this last month, so I haven't heard anything back yet. If I get an explanation for the problems I had, you'll definitely learn about it. It's possible there won't be one; OWC would love to figure this one out, but sometimes technical mysteries remain mysterious.
I still need space, so I just purchased OWC's 750GB Seagate Momentus XT 7200RPM/SSD Hybrid 2.5 with an Express USB2 enclosure and tool kit.
The enclosure and toolkit was only five dollars more. Normally I wouldn't settle for USB2 on an external drive enclosure, but what the heck.
This is the big brother to the drive I currently have in my machine. You may recall from my SSD tests that the SATA bus in my "ancient" laptop won't sustain more than 128 MB per second. This was more than my current drive could pump, but not massively more. It's quite possible the better performance of the 750 GB Momentus XT means I'll see no significant difference between it and and that SSD.
The hybrids are twice as much per megabyte as a conventional hard drive but several times less expensive than an SSD, which will make it quite a bargain if it delivers comparable performance in my system. If so, you'll see another product report.
Late-breaking news: my glasses are here!!!
As I was writing this, i got a call from my optometrist—my Superfocus glasses have arrived!
I am so excited. I told you last week that it would probably be next month before I could give your report on them. Well, it might be as soon as next week. I'm going to pick them up in a few hours. I am really trying hard not to get my hopes up, and I am being very unsuccessful at that.
[*Ed. Note: Platine is the paper Charlie Cramer used for the pictures in his TOP sale announced two years ago today.]
Regular columnist Ctein is exciting every Wednesday on TOP. Sometimes even when Ed. is away.
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A book of interest today:
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Featured Comments from:
Christopher Holland: "It's worth mentioning that Canson has an Infinity Discovery Pack that lets you sample their various Infinity papers, including both of those mentioned here."