Dear Steve –

I want to buy a WD media player for my friend as I have had one for nearly

3 years without problem. Can you tell me where in Pantip Plaza I can buy and how much it costs now?

My friend does not have any TV network at the moment other than the internet. She has a 50 inch LG Plasma about five years old and watches TV from her computer on the big screen. She would like to know if she can connect her computer in conjunction with the media player.

Thank you for your help

David

 

Hello David –

I couldn’t tell you what store exactly,  but I remembering seeing them in a number of places the last time I was there.  Depending on the model you’re looking from 2000 on the low end to 6500 on the high end for the one with the built in hard drive storage.

About your friend.  One of the biggest advantages of a media box is that you no longer need to hook up a computer.  You can take the computer out of the equation.  You put the videos you want to watch on a thumb drive, an external hard drive, and then plug that device into the media center directly.

What I do, is I use the Western Digital 1tb TV Live Hub.  This includes a 1tb hard drive.  Then, I download my torrents (movies/shows (legal ones of course)) from the internet using my laptop, but instead of having them saved in my laptop I have them saved to the Western Digital 1tb TV Live iHub directly.  It’s not hard, if you need help setting this up ask and I’ll help you set it up.

The one stick in the mud is if someone is still buying movie DVD’s from Pantip and needs their computer to play the disk.  The solution to this is don’t.  Instead, of buying them at Pantip download them for free via torrents.

Once you’re set up using the WD Media device you’ll be amazed how much better the picture is, the color, ,all of it will look “right’,  just as if you’re watching it on live broadcast.

Good luck.

Steve

 

G'day Steve, How do professional photographers carry their equipment when travelling the world on assignments?

I ask this because until recently I've been travelling Jetstar from Vietnam to Brisbane and return. Not anymore. 22 months ago I flew out of Brisbane the day the floods peaked, 13th of Jan. 2011. I was 3kgs overweight on my check in luggage and while the staff were in discussion as to what to charge me I rested my camera bag and my computer bag on the conveyor. Almost dropped dead when I saw the weight, 23kgs! I was very fortunate to get back to Vietnam without being severely penalised.

I took my wife over for a 4 week holiday in June and was surprised when asked at Brisbane airport on our way back if I had a computer in my check in luggage. It was the first time in years that I didn't and I can only assume you can no longer carry computers in your check in luggage.

We got to Singapore, stayed a few days then went to catch the Jetstar flight to Ho Chi Minh City. For the first time ever they weighed the carry on luggage and any one that had more than 10kgs in the required 2 bags had to put the extra in their check in and pay the extra if they were over the 20kg limit. Fortunately for me I was able to offload 1 laptop and some camera gear to my wife and we came right in on the 20kg, 10 each, maximum. I purchased an extra 20kgs for both of us (40kgs each) both ways and that was very expensive because for what ever reason we had to do the trip in 3 legs and pay the extra on each of those 3 legs. Needless to say I won't be travelling with Jetstar again,

but it did get me thinking, if you can't put your laptop/s (I carry 2) in your check in luggage how can you carry on your camera gear because they say not to put valuables in your check in as well? I bought a good sturdy suitcase to put some camera gear in but when I weighed it, it was 4 and a half kgs empty! How do professionals get on with their big lenses etc? Of course its not only the laptop, bodies and lenses, its all the accessories as well. Kevin. Vietnam.

P.S.   Have attached 2 cropped copies of the same photo. (Sent Stick a copy as well.) Went out on the roof of our apartment building last year to bring in the washing and was confronted with this monster coming straight at me. Rushed inside and grabbed the 5DM2 and as I rushed back out realized I'd taken off my 16-35f2.8L II earlier in the day and replaced it with the Samyang 14f2.8 manual lens. It was spitting heavily and I was only able to get 2 shots. I didn't even have time to check the settings. Anyway thought you might enjoy having a look. Its given me an interest in storms. I converted it to black and white and cropped it using elements. Looks really menacing full strength and on the HDTV.

Kevin.

 

I ask this because until recently I've been travelling Jetstar from Vietnam to Brisbane and return. Not anymore. 22 months ago I flew out of Brisbane the day the floods peaked, 13th of Jan. 2011. I was 3kgs overweight on my check in luggage and while the staff were in discussion as to what to charge me I rested my camera bag and my computer bag on the conveyor. Almost dropped dead when I saw the weight, 23kgs! I was very fortunate to get back to Vietnam without being severely penalised.

P.S.   Have attached 2 cropped copies of the same photo. (Sent Stick a copy as well.) Went out on the roof of our apartment building last year to bring in the washing and was confronted with this monster coming straight at me. Rushed inside and grabbed the 5DM2 and as I rushed back out realized I'd taken off my 16-35f2.8L II earlier in the day and replaced it with the Samyang 14f2.8 manual lens. It was spitting heavily and I was only able to get 2 shots. I didn't even have time to check the settings. Anyway thought you might enjoy having a look. Its given me an interest in storms. I converted it to black and white and cropped it using elements. Looks really menacing full strength and on the HDTV.

 

Kevin –

How do pros carry their gear  -  There is no single right answer It depends.  It depends on what we carry, where we carry it, and a lot more.  This is where the experience of a professional can rarely be duplicated by someone who hasn’t been there and done that.

Sometimes I’ll pack my gear in military grade hard cases with stout locks and ship them to my hotel via Fedex or other premium carrier.  Sometimes I take the same hard cases as checked luggage, sometimes as carry-on.  I have several lighter weight hard shell carriers for carry-on, and then the soft sided cases..  Sometimes I’ll get my gear to a country in one type of case, and then use another type for travel within that country.

Don’t lock yourself into just one method.  Bags (good ones) are very expensive so it might seem wasteful when I tell you I have a closet full to select from..  But its not, its good business.  If someone hires me for their wedding or a journalist assignment then I need to be there on time, properly equipped, and ready to work.  “My gear got lost” will only fall on deaf ears.

About Airlines -  Any airline worth its salt ‘should’ not quibble about 3-4kg’s.. but they do and they do so more often to their regular customers as crazy as that sounds.  Don’t hesitate to fight fire with fire.  Let me give you a few examples:

1.  I show up at a gate knowing I’m going to request to bring TWO 35kg military hard cases (but within size) aboard as well as my regular carry-on.  I’ll make a plan.  First, I’ll dress the part.  Does a guy carrying $100,000 in gear dress and look like a bum?  (I do it all the time but that’s another ploy) Usually they dress professionally and I’ll deal with this while checking in.  I tell them I’m a journalist on assignment, or a photographer on assignment.  Watch their face, it’s easy to change this to “I’m a photographer on a once in a lifetime assignment and I’m really trying to make a good impression.” (or anything to that effect)

Tell them you know you’re over weight but you promise to do all the lifting into the overhead by yourself (this relieves the worry a crew complaint will come back to bite them), and that the gear is extremely fragile and must be handled with care.  Did you know that most every airlines have an “exempt from restrictions” sticker ?  These are what you want.  If they agree to let you go through as “can you give me a note to stick on the bag?”   Help them remember what tools they have to help you.  Keep smiling, talking, complimenting, until you get what you want.  Once when I’d almost given up I said “I haven’t written an article on airline customer service in a long time”, and then I looked at her name tag as I wrote down her name.

2.  Something that rarely fails “I have many students flying your airlines to take my classes next month, is this airlines friendly towards photographers where it comes to luggage and carry-ons?”

You’ll need to learn how to read your ticket agent, how to talk with them, and to make your needs known.

Someone mentioned to me “don’t you feel bad lying to them?”  I never lie to them.  There is always truth in what I request.  Even if there wasn’t I don’t feel bad.  And when I have to wedge myself down in that tiny seat with my shoulders touching the guy next to me I feel even less bad.

Airlines have spent millions learning to cut costs and get more from their customers.  Many charge for pillows, blankets, meals, any checked luggage at all.. it’s getting bad out there.  So I have no qualms reminding them that I’m carrying expensive gear, or that my job requires me to be there ready to work, or that I write articles which influence the choices people make.  After all, if they were really doing their jobs they’d be doing these things automatically.  It’s called customer service, it’s just been so long since it’s been properly done that we forget what it looks like.

Computers not allowed in checked baggage?  -  Computers are fine.  What the problem is, is  ANY DEVICE WITH LITHIUM BATTERIES.  They’ve learned that when subjected to the environment of a baggage compartment along with everything else, they can very rarely catch on fire.  If you’re holding it in your carry on and this happens you’ll know to stop the fire.  But not if it’s unattended in checked baggage.

We have airlines like this in America too.  But be sure to do all your research.  I recently booked with my least desirable carrier because their first class upgrade (which came with 3 free checked baggage allowances and one carry-on) was cheaper all in total.

Again, it’s the batteries, not the gear.  And some airlines have been slow to acknowledge cameras also use lithium batteries.  But you’re right, we have a lot to carry and it adds up.  In short, we become experts at packing and shopping for the best deals.  We know for instance if an assignment will at most require 500 images.. then we will bring just two batteries (one to shoot with, the other for a spare) and leave the other 4-5 batteries and chargers at home.  Most pros I know carry far less than most amateur photographers I know..  because they travel often and they only take what they need.

Steve

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