Dell alert

Well, Dell have been in my bad and then good books for so long now that I’m used to their flakiness but this recent story takes the biscuit.

Dell recently persuaded a new client that its a good idea for them to buy a Dell tower running  Windows Server 2008, not bad in itself, what was not right was to tell the client that they could set it up themselves (with no previous experience) and that it would not need any significant maintenance and it could be run without a third party IT contract.

I’m not in the market to offer IT support for Windows server as I know the complexity of the product, what we have here is a salesman who thinks its OK to sell enterprise level computing to someone who has no concept of the complexity involved in setting up and managing a domain.

In actual fact the clients needs were incredibly modest and I have configured their 3 pc network to take advantage of a superb Google Apps account at a fraction of the cost of Windows 2008 server.

If your planning a major IT purchase then please get in touch for a quick chat about your requirements I may be able to save you thousands of pounds.

And…don’t expect suppliers like Dell to act in your interest.

Laptop accessories for shoots

I have been using some laptop digital capture accessories for a while now and thought it was the right time to share my thoughts.

Laptop Shade
When working outdoors it can be very difficult to judge an image because of screen glare and the fact that screen backlights tend to be a bit dim to preserve battery life.
I bought a Compushade fold down plastic hood to see if it would improve the image outdoors, the good news is that it did. It doesn’t remove the problem entirely of course, bright direct sunlight still needs a secondary cloth or shade over the shoulders to exclude light but for cloudy or shaded light it is easier to see the screen.
Its also useful indoors when working near windows or other light sources.
When not in use it folds down flat over the top of the laptop, it becomes part of the laptop and the combination will still slide into a laptop bag. Despite earlier concerns that it would be a bit flimsy I can report that the opposite is true and its quite hard wearing. Worth the £20 asking price.

Laptop Stand
Trying to hand hold a laptop when it is tethered to a camera can be very difficult, when possible a nearby table or chair can be used to rest the thing down flat but sometimes these things are not around, step forward a dedicated laptop stand.


There are two models available from instand, I chose the smaller/cheaper/lighter CR3 shown here that can easily be transported by public transport, the stand folds down to about 16″ and the plate can be carried in the side pocket of my laptop bag. The price is a bit cheeky at nearly £100 but it does do the job reasonably well, a bit shaky when fully extended but I have not had any bad experiences so far, in actual fact the soft rubbery top surface keeps the laptop from sliding very well.
If you always travel by car then the much more rugged looking CR5 may be the one to go for (and it looks prettier too).
Check out the instruction sheet for some very witty remarks about tightening the plate correctly…