Client Advisory: Silver TeraStation owners

The silver boxed Buffalo Terastation was released in 2005. With its 1TB capacity (~700GB as raid 5) it was a welcomed device to many photographers who needed secure storage for their images.
I advised purchase of these devices to many people and I know that there are dozens of them still working fine today. There have been a few devices that have developed problems prematurely but as long as the data was backed up to other devices before replacing a faulty hard disk there should have been no problems.
However, we may be approaching the 5th anniversary for many of these devices and in my experience 5 years is a significant time for hard disks to be running continuously.
This advisory is to say, be prepared!, make sure that you have the devices backed up in at least one other separate place and consider migrating files to another device within the next 12 months.For the same cash that bought the 1tb silver device you can now purchase a much faster 4tb device and many clients have already done this. I now use my own silver terastation (pictured above) as an ftp server, it no longer houses copies of master images but is very happy serving copies of retouched files to clients, a pleasant retirement for this old horse.

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Monitor calibration advisory – Pantone Spyder products

The first monitor calibration device I owned was the original Optical Spyder, I think I had a “good” one as it did a reasonable job though I did hear there was variability in build quality and accuracy.
For some years now I have advised people to buy Gretag Macbeth calibrators as the results and consistancy were much better. For clients who already owned a Spyder I was happy to see if it produced a reasonable calibration (Im very sensitive to how my test images should look on a monitor).
However I have recently visited a few clients were the calibration was way out even though the correct perameters were used and the profiling process went without a hitch. Im taking here about a white point that was no where near 6500K and incorrect display of shadow detail. Pantone sell a range of Spyders from cheap to expensive – presumably the cheap ones are not as good as their expensive ones?

If you use a Pantone Spyder and you are getting poor calibrated repro/proof mismatches have a look at replacing it with a Gretag Macbeth Eye-one display 2.

(I have no connection with colour confidence so try a search on Google to check prices)

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Monitor brightness with ATi video cards on a PC

Something strange happened a few days ago that I have now tracked down and corrected.
I use a ATi XTX1950X 512mb video card on my Vista workstation with the Catalyst control center software to configure it.

One day I noticed that my monitor didn’t look right and when I checked it read 85 candelas instead of 100. I re calibrated but 2 sets of calibration software couldn’t achieve a brightness level higher than 85. This is the kind of behaviour to expect from a 5 year old CRT monitor and not a CG211 LCD panel less than one year old.

When I attached my Mac to the screen however I found the brightness back to expected levels so it wasn’t the screen.

I knew therefore it was the PC setup at fault and proceeded to check everything, including uninstalling and reinstalling the ATI drivers and Catalyst program.

Eventually I traced the problem to an obscure setting in the color panel of the Catalyst control center. It was set on “PC standard black and white levels” which sounds fine to me but when I changed it to “Microsoft MCE black and white levels” I got my display brightness back. I have no recollection of even seeing this setting before so I’m unclear as to how the change happened.

I’m mentioning it here so anyone else who comes across this problem knows how to fix it. I seem to get a lot of hits from Google searches from people with imaging related problems, nice to know I’m helping!


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