Another Milestone for CDTobie’s Photo Blog: 100,000 Page Views

Its been a bit over six months since I started this blog. In the last week, with Photokina news, and with incoming traffic from such sites as ZDNet, Daring Fireball, DPReview, Luminous Landscape, Extreme Tech, NorthLight Images, and MacRumors (all of those just today, actually), I’ve watched the total page views of the blog creep up towards 100,000. Today is the day that the odometer rolled over, to borrow an automotive phrase.

I have very much enjoyed the interaction and connections that this blog has provided, and have settled down to a less frequent, but hopefully useful, schedule of posting, as my time is increasingly taken up by the Datacolor SpyderBLOG, book editing and translations, and other tasks. Thanks for being part of this blog, I hope to continue offering useful information, as the fields of photography and digital technology continue to grow and change.

Map of countries accessing CDTobie’s Photo Blog in it’s first six months.

Credits: C. David Tobie, Copyright 2012. Website: CDTobie.com Return to Blog’s Main Page

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Mountain Lion, Gatekeeper, and Photography Applications

Mountain Lion

Apple’s new OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) operating system for the Mac offers a range of new features, and more parity with iOS, meaning that those of us who switch between iPhones, iPads, and Macs all day long will find fewer differences. This will not be a review of all thats new in Mountain Lion, but instead will focus on one if its larger features, called GateKeeper, and specifically what Gatekeeper means to photographers.

OS Security

You’ve probably noticed all desktop/laptop operating systems ratcheting up security in recent versions. This is a good thing, except where its a bad thing; and bad usually means inconvenient or different. OS X 10.7, for instance, made the User Library invisible, which might keep your parents or your children from doing damage to important files in that location, but it also means you can’t directly access important files stored there, such as ICC profiles. Pasting a line of code into the Console solves that issue, but one still gets the feeling that the playpen is closing in around end users, and we will be allowed to do less and less “under the hood” over time.

Mobile Security versus Desktop Security

iOS is based on the theory that there isn’t really much that should be done under the hood, and the result is an OS that virtually anyone can use, and which seldom needs service or even expert advice when using iOS phones or tablets. But thats not exactly what we’re used to on the Mac. So with each new Mac OS, we will gain more parity with iOS, but with new restrictions in the process.

Gatekeeper

Gatekeeper is exactly this type of balancing act. It restricts the types of applications you can load onto your Mac, and where those apps come from. But in order to avoid causing too much backlash from longtime Mac users, Gatekeeper offers three settings. At its highest setting, applications can only be downloaded from the Mac App Store. This offers maximum reassurance to users that they are not loading spyware, malware, or other dangerous stuff onto their computers unintentionally.  But there are many excellent pieces of software not available from the Mac App Store, and software which drives hardware devices is noticeably absent from the Mac App Store as well. So changing the Gatekeeper setting to “high” might be advisable for computers owned by your young children, but it has limitations for those doing advanced graphics and photographic work.

Gatekeeper Defaults

The default setting for Gatekeeper is “medium”. At this setting, Apps can be downloaded from the Mac App Store, and from other locations as well. But only Apps from Apple Certified Developers can be installed without warning bells going off. This means that there is at least reasonable assurance that the App you are installing is not malicious, and offers reasonable peace of mind.

Gatekeeper Settings to Avoid

Setting Gatekeeper to its lowest setting allows apps to be installed even if they are not from a certified developer, and do not include a Digital Certificate. Since there are ways to allow such installations even at the default “medium” setting, there is not much reason to set Gatekeeper to “low”.

What Gatekeeper Doesn’t Do

Gatekeeper does not affect applications you have already installed. So all your existing apps, (even potentially malicious ones) will continue functioning as they always have. And Gatekeeper does not stop you from installing software from an Optical Disc (CD/DVD), since its a download-related tool.

Where Gatekeeper Puts Up Warnings

If you have downloaded an installer for one of your favorite apps previously, and try to install it now that you are running Mountain Lion (and thus have Gatekeeper running) that older installer will not include a digital certificate, and will trigger a warning from Gatekeeper. If your software developers have not kept up with Apple’s new protocols, even currently downloaded Apps may trigger this warning. If this happens, you should double check that the App and Installer in question is legitimate, before you bypass Gatekeeper and install.

How Its Supposed to Work

At the default “medium” setting, Gatekeeper should allow you to install new Mountain Lion-updated installers from all legitimate developers without warnings. Most users will run at this default (few will even know there are alternative settings), and most legitimate software will be digitally signed; so in most cases (or so Apple hopes), end users won’t even know this safety net is in place.

What This Means for Photographers and Designers

The software developers in these fields tend to be quite proactive and knowledgable, so most Mac Apps for graphics and photo uses should be fine. I have already installed Apps using updated Installers from Datacolor and NIK under Mountain Lion with no difficulties. Some of your smaller Apps from the fringe of the industry may be a bit slower to update their products. A note to them letting them know that you aren’t comfortable installing their products until this has been rectified may help speed the process.

The Overall Balance

Gatekeeper does raise the bar and keep malicious software from being installed thoughtlessly, or by accident. It won’t keep all such software off your computer, but given the excellent track-record of the Mac, it should make a safe system even safer. And the occasional inconveniences it may cause are not on the scale that some other Operating System safeguards have caused in the past (anyone remember the constant barrage of verification requests from Windows Vista?) So it seems well worth the effort, for the additional peace of mind.

Credits: C. David Tobie, Copyright 2012. Website: CDTobie.com Return to Blog’s Main Page

Color My World: A Quick Review of the First Four Months of this Blog

  • Its been a bit over four months since I started this blog, and I felt I should do a short review, before disappearing to Italy for a couple of weeks of photography, and the occasional workshop. Readership has been increasing; in that wobbly way that web stats move. And I keep hitting a new “most views” day every so often, typically in response to a key article on a new device and its color capabilities. First my analysis of the New iPad, then of the Canon 5D Mark lll, and most recently the Retina MacBook Pro.

Breadth of readership has been increasing as well. Whether that is because more people around the globe have had a chance to become familiar with my work, or because there is something innately more international about the Retina MBP is yet to be seen. But the recent day when a new record of over 4300 page views was reached was the beginning of a new era, where the US is not always my top readership country (at least not early in the day, when the Eastern Hemisphere has had a lot longer to be up and reading…).

The map of countries from which my blog has been accessed was long ago flushed out; at this point all that remains is for one or another of the remaining countries in Latin  America, Africa, or the depths of Asia to finally score a hit. Perhaps summer travel will fill in one or two  more of these. I’ll include a copy of the readership map below, though it doesn’t show much that the sentence above doesn’t cover, except for the visual aspect.

Its very gratifying to see the blog extend its reach and readership, and to watch the total page views roll past 60,000, and now 65,000. It will be interesting to see if the trend continues over the remainder of the first year, as WordPress assures me it will do. And it is interesting to see more and more sites in other languages linking to my English-only blog, and viewers coming to visit from them, even when they need to translate the page.

Thanks to all of you who have read my writings (and occasional ramblings), and especially to those who have subscribed through WordPress, through e-mail, and through Twitter, to receive announcements of each new blog post. And thanks to those who have commented, even those whose comments, on reflection, I have chosen not to publish. All input is information, even when the final decision is that its not sufficiently pertinent to append to the post. And thanks to all my associates in the industry who have commented, mostly privately, about the blog and web authoring in general.

CDTobie’s Photo Blog readership reach

Credits: C. David Tobie, Copyright 2012. Website: CDTobie.com Return to Blog’s Main Page

Datacolor Spyder Blog Goes Live

Datacolor’s long awaited Photography and Digital Imaging Blog has finally gone live. There are great photography and color management articles by a number of Datacolor’s world-class Friends with Vision, as well as some of my own work. Thanks to everyone involved in this effort!

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Credits: C. David Tobie, Copyright 2012. Website: CDTobie.com Return to Blog’s Main Page