Saturday, February 05, 2011

Fuji GA645zi big compact

I never heard of this film camera before, how cool it is. It looks, and basically is, like a compact camera, but the negative is 6x4.5 centimeters! And it only weighed a little more than an iPad, 800 grams.

And it had autofocus and a built-in zoom at 55-90mm. That's unusual even at smaller film sizes. 
I am not about to go back to film, but back in the day I'd have killed for this camera.
Of course the lens was not fast and it was not exactly pocket-sized, but the image quality must have been well above 35mm quality, the lens is said to be very good.
[Here is a discussion about it.]

TheChapel. A short film. (HDR timelapse)

TheChapel, a short film. (HDR timelapse)
I'm not sure what is Time Lapse about it. But it's clearly HDR, a bit overdone to my taste.

Who a baby looks like

Listen, aren't people just full of it when they claim they can tell who a baby looks like? To me a baby looks like a baby. All their future features are hidden behind the big round blob of baby fat.

Router introduced noise in files

Even after sixteen years on the Net, I can still hear about new things. A customer of mine was having trouble with corrupted files he downloaded. In the end he found out that when he bypassed his router and plugged his computer directly into the modem, the problem disappeared! Huh. It seems the router introduced noise in the files. I would have thought that this would either be impossible or be very common, given the number of devices files fly through on their way around the Net.

BTW, I just got a new router yesterday. Virgin Media has given it the grandiose name The Superhub! And it does look a lot better than the old cable modem I had from them. And not the least, it has built-in not only wireless, but also an ethernet hub, so that was three devices I could unplug and replace with only one, pretty kewl.
I got it as part of a deal to upgrade from 20Mb to 30Mb. I don't expect to see much difference in practice, but on principle I just go with the best, roughly. It was just a smallish one-time fee.
It was also nice that Net connection, the wifi, and the ethernet all worked perfectly right off the bat, I love when that happens. (Only odd that it was mandatory to phone them up to get it registered and activated, that should not be necessary these days.)

Is Blogger forgotten?

I noticed that these days, when people talk about blog platforms, Blogger (Blogspot) is not even being mentioned these days. (WordPress seems to be big.) How sad, I guess that means we can't expect much more development of Blogger?

Actually, though:
If wordpress and other paid blogging platform like Movable Type are taken into consideration, Blogspot still hold the first spot with a command of 35%. Although WordPress has a mere 2% market share, they are made of mainly hardcore bloggers, which is why there are so many wordpress templates available while blogspot user has a limited choice of templates to choose from.

So Blogger is still biggest, odd how it is so invisible. Maybe I've only heard hardcore people talk.

I'm a bit confused: they say WordPress is a paid platform, but I have an old rarely-used blog on it, and I'm sure I haven't paid a dime to them. I did pay to Typepad though, when comparing platforms once, Typepad is only for pay. I would have thought this would mean it's better, but that was not clear. It's hard to compare the platforms, because they are all different and complex, it seems to me, and it takes a lot of time and work to just get a tentative overview over the usability and features of one.

To add to my confusion, this article claims a much higher marketshare for WordPress. And is different from

Sadly it seems to me that as features go up, ease of use goes down. Not exactly uncommon, I admit.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Big music library

I just now noticed that when I look at my iTunes music library, and I only take my "top faves" list, I still have 8.4 days of music there! Dang. And I don't often go looking for new music, pretty rarely in fact. Makes me wonder about people who are really into it. I heard that Will Smith has to carry several iPod Classics if he wants to have all his music with him. And that model is mucho spacious.

Winter and winter are two different things

Weather is weird: while apparently the US is drowning in winter, here in the UK right now it's virtually spring. Today I can barely have any heat on at all, it's 12 degrees Celsius outside.

Life of a theatre photographer

Interview (video) with theatre photographer Michal Daniel.
I've covered Michal before, here and here and here. Those were about his work as art- and street-photographer.

Jennifer Aniston

Jennifer Aniston, since Friends, has done several "rom-coms" (romantic comedies), some pretty good, some unfortunate. But I think she is a better actor than on might give her credit for. She was so good as Rachel on Friends that one tends to think she just is that way and wasn't acting. But I liked her a lot in some movies with distinctly different characters, like The Good Girl, which I want to re-watch soon, and Friends With Money (trailer), which I just re-watched, and liked a lot, it's funny and relevant, and not at all the "chick flick" one might think it is.

Sure, if one defines "chick flick" as a movie without guns or car chases, then Friends With Money is one. But for me, a chick flick is a shallow, sentimental movie, aimed just at the emotions of women and without perspective or insight. And that it is not.

Time is the coin. And Purpose

Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.
-- Carl Sandburg

Yes. I've sometimes been astounded at the willingness of some people to have others waste their time. They won't turn them away, just out of... I guess, politeness. Granted, it is not the easiest thing in the world to just say No, but at the price of having your life wasting away underneath you?

I had a spiritual tutor back in the eighties. He told me a price per hour before we started. He was really helpful, and then after I held out a hand with the money. He didn't take them immediately, like he really didn't want them. Then he said: "do you know why I say I charge money for it? It's because otherwise some people are just time-sinks for me."

Happiness is essentially a state of going somewhere, wholeheartedly, one-directionally, without regret or reservation.
-- William H. Sheldon

I also believe this is true. In fact, for many intelligent people, their biggest problem is that they are not sure what their purpose is! (Books about finding your "true purpose" are selling very well.)

I've come to believe it doesn't matter, actually. Our true purpose is probably too big for a human mind to understand, so whatever you choose in your human life is just that, a choice. Just do whatever you're good at, and do it with love and do it well.

"Ridiculous Speed Sign"

Thursday, February 03, 2011

How many are really journalists?

Following up on saving newspapers vs saving journalism, this article tells about how small a percentage of the typical newspaper business is really actual journalism. It is very small.
The paper investigated, apparently a pretty good one too, has almost twice as many people just covering sports as it has journalists, for example.

This one is worthwhile too. It outlines some reasons why micropayments doesn't work. For example, it prohibits sharing in this brave new social-networking world.
I was a big fan of micropayments back in the day, and I was one of their biggest sellers when BitPass was working, before it went bust. But it was clear that people preferred to buy a big bundle of content rather than many small bits, even when there was no price advantage to doing so. So I guess it just won't work. I think people don't want to use attention on deciding many times a day whether to spend twenty cents or not.

"Hey Man, Nice Shot" by Filter

(Hard rock.)

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The Daily, iPad newspaper (updated)

Third update 6 Feb:
I think the format works, but as one might have predicted, the content does not interest me. Last year I tried newspapers for a while, and they simply do not hold my interest, they don't write about anything of consequence.
But a similar format might be used for interesting magazines.

Second update: outstanding article.
“If the old model is broken, what will work in its place?” To which the answer is: Nothing. Nothing will work. 
...  It makes increasingly less sense even to talk about a publishing industry, because the core problem publishing solves — the incredible difficulty, complexity, and expense of making something available to the public — has stopped being a problem.

OK, so today The Daily launched, Rupert Murdock's e-paper made for the iPad. (I can't download it now, surely the server is over-loaded.)
Let's see if it works well. I'm not optimistic, because  it's rare that successes in new media are done by companies which were successful in old media. It tends to be more organic than responding to brute force. Otherwise Microsoft would be king of the internet, search engines, music, etc.
Not to be cynical, but it's a bit amusing to watch an 80-year-old ultra-establishment newspaper baron stand up and speak about creating a Fresh New Voice in media!       :-)

But the price, 99c per week, is right, and from the video, at least the interface seems simple and well thought out. Most reading app interfaces on the iPad suck toxic muck through a rubber hose. Confusing. And on many you can't even change the text size! Talk about missing the basics.

Here is an interesting article about the new-fangled e-reading formats.
As for the “newspaper industry,” those people and organizations that are able to adapt to new technologies and markets will do just fine. But “newspaper” is not the same as “journalism.” Let’s not confuse the wine with the bottle [my emphasis]. The economics of newspapers as we’ve known them for 50 years have changed. Yet for many of the jobs that people long hired newspapers to do — weather, sports, classifieds, movie times, local news — better and cheaper alternatives have emerged that show demand is still strong for that kind of information. That demand may no longer support the overhead and margins expected by a newspaper company, but that’s OK with me.

It is not OK with people in the newspaper business, but heck, if they had been in the typewriter business, it would have happened sooner.

Now I think about it: newspapers are not for "journalism". Who reads papers to read well-researched and well-written articles? They read them to get gossip and to get weather info and classifieds etc. And this is being taken over by the Internet in various forms. The percentage of newspaper readers who would pay to read "well-written articles" is minuscule.

I'm test-driving The Daily now, and it's not bad. Doesn't have much in the way of content for me of course, I don't care much about politics or sports or fashion for example, and I'd like it to have a technology section, but the interface is indeed good. Except, haha: you can't change the text size! The one they have chosen is not bad, but for older readers text size is an issue, and it's one of the great advantages of a tablet that you can change it. If they just design the pages for it, that is. In fact, an electronic publication shouldn't even have "pages", that's an outdated concept based on paper.

Wallpaper patterns

These are two wallpaper patterns in OS X. I like them, but the OS provides only those two. Does anybody know a good resource for large pattern type wallpapers?

Ray found this page. Many are a bit loud, but some are nice. (Many of those I like best, though, have way overdone vignetting, I wonder why.) 

(This one is louder than I was looking for, but it's kept in two colors, and the detail in it is really wonderful. Find it in many sizes here.)

Glif: An atom-based product, developed in bits

Glif: An atom-based product, developed in bits, article in the Economist.
The $70,000 raised so far is a small sum in the consumer product world, but two or three years ago, few of the steps that the Glif took between conception and production even existed. Atom-based production is still messy, but thanks to the efficiencies of electrons, the threshold for even considering it is a good deal lower.

I really like the Glif. I have it sitting permanently on my iPhone 4, it gives a good grip and it's made of high-end dense plastic which feels really good. Just today I used it for viewing video postcast while being out for lunch.
The article was made before the Glif was done, but it has some  interesting data about modern prototyping and funding.

I paid the premium to also get the 3D-printed prototype. I have that one sitting on the tiny, light-weight GorillaMobile tripod, for more flexibility in positioning the iPhone both for viewing and for photographing. (The GorillaMobile comes with it's own adapter, but it's far more fiddly.)

It would be handy if the iPhone 4 camera app had a ten- and two-second self-timer to avoid camera shake, but it doesn't. Fortunately there's a cheap app for it. (Apple outta put it into the standard app though, so you can get all the features together with it.)

Update: Geoff B said:
I use the app Gorillacam by on my iphone4 - adds self timer, time laps, bubble leveler, 2/3rds grid lines and more. Works really well and its free. 

Thank you. It also adds a time-lapse function, and an anti-shake function (Seems it shoots when the camera is most stable). There doesn't seem to be any way to control the focus though.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

More free ebooks

Yet another source for free ebooks, new post on my eReaderJoy blog.

How to fit two girls in a small box

How to fit two girls in a small box, video. This is totally insane.

Boom Boom - John Lee Hooker

Very early version.

Related repost: John Lee Hooker with ZZ Top playing Boom Boom (MP3 file). For lovers of either blues or rock guitars.

Metal wall, fence, tree

From this page. (It's not a new page, but I just stumbled over this pic and I like the tones and textures for a desktop pic).

Gabriel & Dresden: Tracking Treasure Down

The version I have (8mins, 41sec) has a great outro with a little child singing the song alone, this I didn't find on youboobs. She only has an approximation of the melody and the words, and she's singing it like she's sitting in her own thoughts or drawing in a coloring book or something, and when she finishes, she says "I'm done".

(Technically a re-post, but it's been over four years, so.)

iPhone shutter effect

The photo is found here.
Here are some weird shots from a scanning camera.

Though not really related to the moire effect mentioned in last post, I just remembered the amazing visual effect of this photo. The effect is said to be from the shutter scanning across the frame. I guess the iPhone has an electronic shutter instead of mechanical one with a moving slit going across the frame, though I'm not sure how it's relevant to the effect.

I'm wondering though if this photo is not composed from several exposures, each one having one strip of that propeller?

Alex found this video which shows just how this happens, very kewl.