Apple is NOT removing the touch bar

Many blogs and tech news sites are speculating that Apple is removing the touch bar on their upcoming MacBook Pro 16″ and possibly on the 13″ and the rumoured 14″ machines.

The thing is, Apple is not removing it. Well, they do but they actually don’t.

What I believe Apple is in fact doing is modifying the touch bar so that they will have 12 independent keys, each being a configurable touchbar itself.

In late December 2020 Apple was granted a configurable keyboard patent by the US Patent and Trademark office – 10,877,570

By using this technology Apple will be able to confugure each individual F-key, rather than having the touchbar or fixed F-keys as on the older models. In fact, they could go as far as having all keys on the keyboard configurable, so that the user can change the keybaord layout, language or anything else they wish.

How to remove Stories and Rooms in Facebook

This is how you can remove stories and Rooms in Facebook.

Facebook has this annoying feature called Stories right on top of your feed page. Not much further below you will also find the Rooms.

Currently users can’t remove either of these through Facebook settings. However, there is an easy way to do this using third party browser extensions.

Here is how to do it.

Install AdGuard AdBlocker, it’s a free browser extensions and it works on most modern browsers.

Once you have it installed, go to Facebook and right click anywhere on the page, select AdGuard AdBlocker and then Block ads on this website.

Hover with your mouse over the Spaces so that the entire Spaces area is selected in green, then click on it.

In the floating window titled Element blocking, you can move the slider left or right to adjust your captured area. From here you can click on Preview to see what the website looks like with selected element being blocked, and finally click on Block once you are happy with what you see.

Repeat the same for the Rooms if you wish. I noticed that Rooms are a bit tricky to select, but you can adjust your selection with the slider. Moving the slider one notch to the left worked for me.

And that’s it. The Stories are gone, the Rooms are gone, all that remains is just Facebook feed.

My favourite photography quotes

In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.” – Alfred Stieglitz

Most things in life are moments of pleasure and a lifetime of embarrassment; photography is a moment of embarrassment and a lifetime of pleasure.” – Tony Benn

“You can look at a picture for a week and never think of it again. You can also look at a picture for a second and think of it all your life.” – Joan Miro

Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst. ” Henri Cartier-Bresson

It’s one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it’s another thing to make a portrait of who they are.” –  Paul Caponigro

If you don’t think photos are important, wait until they’re all you have left.” – Missy Mwac

What makes photography a strange invention is that its primary raw materials are the light and time.” – John Berger

Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured foreve. It remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.” – Aaron Siskind

We take photos as a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone.” – Katie Thurmes

One day, all your children will have are the pictures of you. Make sure you’re in them, no matter what your hair looks like, your make up, your body… They won’t care about any of that, they’ll just want to see you.” – Unknown

Return to Film Photography

Going through my photo albums it appears that my last roll of film was shot sometime in 1999, and after almost 20 years I have decided to shoot some film again.

Why? Firstly for fun, and secondly to challenge myself a bit.  With digital we have too many second chances; we shoot, review – not good, shoot again, review …  and so on until we get what we want. With film one needs to learn to get it right first time, every time, with no reviews.

I bought a film camera kit from a local lad consisting of a Canon F-1 and two Canon A-1 cameras and quite a few lenses, most notably FD 28 mm f/2.8, FD 50mm f/1.4 and FD 100mm f/2.8. All cameras look in near mint condition, however have a few issues.

The F-1 seems to have a shutter capping issue (see a sample photo) and requires a visit to technician, if one can be found in Brisbane. I love this camera, the light-meter in the viewfinder is awesome. However, it’s a heavy piece of gear and needs to be fixed before it can be used.

The two A-1s are much lighter but the LED light-meter in the viewfinder is somewhat primitive when compared to that of F-1. One of the A-1s had the shutter squeak but I managed to fix that by following instructions found on Youtube. The other one seems to be alright.

Both A-1 light-meters tend to overexpose a bit, when compared to F-1 and to 5D mk III metering. I shot a black and white roll and the overexposure is consistent between 2/3 and one full f-stop.

This is what the difference looks like between original image and adjusted one.


The current film I have in the A-1 camera is a Fuji ISO 100 roll, but I’ve set the camera so it thinks it’s an ISO 160 film. That should bing the exposure in line.

I’ve got the film developed and scanned at the local lab as I don’t have any facilities to do so at home, although I would love to have my own dark room.

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Boot key combinations for Mac

There is a number of actions you are able to take by holding a key or a key combination during the start up of the Mac computer running macOS or OS X.

Press and hold the keys immediately after pressing the power button on your mac or after your Mac restarts until the required function takes place.

Hold during start-upDescription
ShiftStart up in Safe Mode.
OptionSelect startup disks
CStart up from an available CD, DVD, or USB thumb drive with macOS/OSX
DStart up from the built-in Apple Hardware Test or Apple Diagnostics utility
Option-Command-P-RReset NVRAM or PRAM.
Command-RStart up from the built-in macOS Recovery system.
Option-Command-R or Shift-Option-Command-RStart up from macOS Recovery over the Internet.
Command-SStart up in single-user mode.
TStart up in target disk mode.
XStart up from your macOS startup disk when it's not the default
Command-VStart up in verbose mode.
Eject key OR F12 key OR mouse/trackpad keyEject removable media, such as an optical disc.

Unable to sync Microsoft account

I had this strange problem in that my laptop with Windows 10 Home was unable to sync with my Microsoft account no matter what I tried. The Settings screen under  Accounts / Sync your settings had the message “Some settings are managed by your organisation” in red, right on top of it.

Now, I’m not on any domain, nor part of any organisation so it was confusing to say the least. I searched the internet for quite some time last night but most of the solutions were pointing in a few directions:

  • Edit the Local Group Policy, (gpedit.msc) – which Windows 10 Home doesn’t have
  • Change the Diagnostic and usage data under Privacy to the highest level, and
  • Disable or un-install various anti-virus and anti-malware software,

However,  none of this has helped, so I had to put on my brave hat and dig into the registry. I only had to have a look in a few key areas and it was right there under:


All you need to do is change DisableSettingSync value from (2) to (0). Reboot the computer and the sync works just fine.


Another problem that I managed to address in a similar way was that I was unable to change the Lock Screen picture. The same message Some settings are managed by your organisation was displayed and all options were disabled (greyed-out). 

All I have to do is change the NoChangingLockScreen registry key from (1) to (0) under HKLMSOFTWAREPoliciesMicrosoftWindowsSettingSync

Reboot and it’s all good.

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Sony A7 II – using MF assist with the lens adapters

Sony Alpha and NEX cameras have two very nice features that make manual focusing a pretty effortless exercise. The first one is focus peeking, where the areas in focus are highlighted in a selected colour, and the other one is manual focus assist (MF assist).

Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 22.48.31The way MF assist works is that when the camera is in MF mode, the preview screen on the LCD display or EVF is magnified, making it very easy to see when the subject is in focus. Once the MF assist is enabled, all you need to do is to turn the manual focus ring on your lens and the magnification kicks in.

However, if you are using third party lenses with the lens adapter in manual focus mode, the screen magnification doesn’t work. You can turn the focusing ring all day long, you will only have the benefit of focus peeking but not the MF assist.

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Using Sony SEL1018 lens on the full-frame Sony A7

Sony SEL1018 F/4 10-18mm Wide-Angle Zoom Lens was made for the E-mount APS-C range of cameras, e.g. NEX-6,  Alpha 6000 (A6000) etc. Normally, using this type of a lens on the full frame cameras, such as A7, would cause a very heavy vignetting where the image, unless seriously cropped, would be pretty much useless.

Here is an example of using Sony SEL35F18 35mm f/1.8 Prime Fixed Lens on the full frame camera.


The E-mount APS-C lenses work fine with the full frame E-mount cameras when the camera runs in the crop-mode, but at cost of a reduced resolution.

However, the Sony SEL1018 f/4 full frame sensor coverage is surprisingly good, with the vignetting being a real issue only at the ends of the range. When using the lens between 12 – 16mm, the vignetting can be very easily addressed in post processing.

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Sony A7 II – first impressions

After admiring my Sony NEX-6 and its replacement Sony A6000 for some time, I have finally given in and bought the Sony A7 II last week. I didn’t have much of a chance to use the camera during the week but this weekend I gave it a bit of a run for its money.


There are a few things that I’m really impressed and some others that I’m somewhat disappointed.

The image quality is amazing, the IS (OSS) is doing a brilliant job, the camera feels nicely in hands and the controls layout is pretty good. Having said that, the front and rear dials are a bit out of place, or rather awkward to reach when shooting, but I guess it may be a matter of getting used to twisting my hands a bit.  The exposure compensation dial is also something I didn’t quite like, but I was able to program the rear control wheel to do that task for me. The battery life time is even worse than on A6000, much worse in fact, but it has its reasons.

Good news is that I was able to use my Yongnuo remote triggers and flashes with the A7 II and that all my E-mount (APS-C) lenses can be used as well, however in crop mode.

For now, here is one portrait I took today. Wait until I tell you what lens I used, you’ll be impressed…


DVD stuck in MacBook Pro

This article was originally written in 2006, but the solution below still (in 2017) applies to Mac computers with optical drive.

Earlier this evening I inserted a blank DVD into my MacBook Pro wanting to burn some files. However, OS X never recognised the disc, nothing on the desktop, nothing in the Finder, not even in the Disk Utility. I pressed the Eject button, pressed and held F12 for a few seconds, but the disk was stuck.

I had a DVD stuck once before, even though recognised by the system, and I got it out after tilting the computer 45 degrees forward. But this time, whatever I did there was no eject mechanism sound at all, just a very quiet sound of the disk spinning up and slowing down every few seconds.


So I decided to use good old trick of holding down the mouse button while booting the computer up. Rebooted, held the trackpad button down – but nothing. Even more interesting is that the computer wouldn’t start up at all.

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