April 2015

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Mon 4/20/15 8:52am # | tweet this

Lytro Camera

A few days ago, I bought a Lytro Camera on Woot for $59.99. Lytro was a darling new product of the 2012 tech scene. The Lytro's claim to fame is that you can refocus your images AFTER you take the picture, as it captures directional data about where the light is coming from.

This sounds a little cooler than it is, but it's actually still pretty cool.

When the Lytro debuted, it was $400! Which was crazy because once you get past the fancy refocusing features, it only produces a 1080px x 1080px jpeg. It captures 18 megs of data to allow you a lot of leeway in refocussing and playing with that 170kb or so jpeg, but still if you are going to drop $400 on a camera, you're going to want a higher final output.

Lytro tried to sell people on embeding "living" pictures on their websites, with the Lytro viewer, you can refocus their images while on a web page, but for the most part, there is limited utility in the viewer being able to do this (although it is fun for the photographer.)

The Lytro camera is a beautiful piece of gear though, and while it's not worth $400 for it's picture quality, it's single piece aluminum shell, optical refocussing lens and touch sensitive rubber grip do shout "high end device" so for the crazy blowout Woot price of $60 105 of it's original cost, it's certainly worth it as an object of tech art at the very least.

One of the main things I hope to use the camera on is Action Figure photos. Both of the below images are the same photo. They were refocussed after taking them.

The shallow depth of field on close-up images is sort of the camera's "one cool trick".

Below is a shot that was taken with the zoom, from one couch to the other in my living room. After the shot, I put the focus on the cell phone and the rest of me blurred out nicely.

In our initial playing with the camera outside, we didn't have a lot of success with more general photography. It's real easy for the image to go soft, and even with the post processing refocussing it can be hard to get a sharp shot.

One nice thing about the camera though, it turns on crazy fast and it's fairly small, so it's an easy camera to have lying around to capture spontaneous moments.

I'm sure playing around with the Lytro a bit that I'll be able to get some better shots out of it, and I think It'll be good for the action figure stuff I want to shoot with it, and for 15% of it's original asking price, it's just a beautiful piece of hardware, so all in all, I'm pretty happy I was able to pick it up.

I want to hear your

Wed 4/15/15 8:16pm # | tweet this

Random Non-Sequiters

Peter Pan

Having watched about 3 different groups of people hit their thirties and in many cases pass them, I have a working theory that most people donít really plan or give much thought to life past their thirties. From my observations, In their twenties people look to how settled and perfected they think their lives will be in their thirties. In their thirties, people race against time to realize the dreams of their thirties, they had in their twenties. And in their forties, people realize forty isnít as old as they thought it was going to be in their twenties, and they redouble their efforts to perfect their 30s, because ďthere is still timeĒ.

When the expected life expectancy is 80 something if not 90 something, but your culture has people only planning for lives between 25 and 40. Well thatís only 15 adult years out of 65 or more that people have given any thought to. Leaving 50 or so years mostly unexamined beforehand.

Oh, and before you shoot down my above anecdote with ďI know lots of people saving for retirementĒ, yeah yeah, youíve got me. Saving money for retirement is different though than giving thought to what life will really be like at that age though, so Iíll hold my conclusions above for now.

Why you might love Netflix but hate Comcast

Noone has better Netflix than you. Everyone pays pretty much the same and gets the same set of videos with Netflix. That is nice, no matter how rich or poor, everyone who subscribes gets the same Netflix.

Cable is different. So many different priced tiers, and it costs so much more than Netflix too. With cable there are a bunch of channels you ďpay forĒ but donít use. There are channels youíd like to have, but you donít want to pay for all the other channels that come with them in the next tier. So people end up having better or different cable than you, you donít have the mix of channels you really want, itís all so expensive, and considering you donít watch 95% of the stations you ďbuyĒ it just doesnít seem like the cable company is playing fair with you.

Oddly you donít get mad about all the movies Netflix licenses that you donít watch. But you do get mad about all the extra cable channels you get that you donít use. Anyway itís a thought.

Why the Apple Watch might not be a good thing for Apple

People will have a better Apple Watch than you. Affluent or less affluent people willing to splurge on the latest iPhone, could have the same iPhone as a one percenter, but those 10K Apple Watches are a different story altogether arenít they? There was something ďdemocraticĒ about the iPhone, same device for all. Not so much the way the Apple Watch is being sold.

I want to hear your

Tue 4/07/15 10:49am # | tweet this

Primarily hanging out with the baby, but have had a fair amount of time to Internet on the tablet.

Periscope continues to be interesting. I think the last update they did, worsened discovery of streams though. The main app screen tends to favor local TV reporters now for some reason, perhaps because they have large follower bases and live stream often. They need a categorization system of some kind, so you can find interesting things easier though.

I watched the Apple Watch demo videos a few days ago. Nice interfaces. Still not sure it's much more compelling than Pebble or Android Wear for the casual user. It still looks like you need to be addicted to your notification stream to get a lot out of it. I imagine it'll sell gangbusters the first couple months as it runs through early adopter/Apple fanboy fueled pent up demand for something new. I think it'll taper off far faster than the iPad though.

Absolutely beautiful weather yesterday. It was in the low 60s. We took the baby out in the stroller twice. It's nice to get out on some walks again.

I saw that Intel also has it's compute stick out now. The Intel device like the Asus Chromebit which is coming out soon, plugs into the hdmi connection on your TV and let's you use the TV as a computer. The Intel compute stick comes with windows though. Very interesting for $150. Digital signing should really open up for a lot more businesses now.

I want to hear your

Fri 4/03/15 11:42am # | tweet this


I watched Comedian Jim Gaffigan get his hair and beard colored by a stylist. I was able to do this because of Periscope, a mobile live video streaming app that Twitter quickly bought and released to crush the momentum of a new similiar app named: Meercat.

There's nothing essentially new about live-streaming video to a mass audience, other than perhaps technology and society may have caught up to the idea. Close to a decade ago there was Stickam and other desktop webcam based services of it's era. People used them for awhile, but desktops and laptops proved not to be convenient enough to live broadcast much of interest except for the immediate area around one's computer desk. Plus there was the added problem that the audience for such broadcasts also needed to be at their desktop/laptop, so while the opportunity was there, all the elements weren't.

Fast forward to now. Ubiquitous mobile smartphones that can create and watch streaming video. Instant friend and follower networks on Facebook and Twitter. Carriers with unlimited mobile broadband/4G LTE and or more reasonable rates (and maybe an ample supply of free wifi too.) Plus those smartphones have notifications, so even if you aren't watching your social networks, you can be alerted to a stream. So with all that now in place, perhaps video livestream broadcasting might be poised to take off, it sure looks that way at the moment though.

None of the above is how I watched Jim Gaffigan get his hair colored though. I don't even follow Jim Gaffigan on social media. But I did sit with my tablet and refresh the Periscope home screen several times looking for things to watch, and I saw Jim Gaffigan's name.

I tapped and started the livestream. Gaffigan was shooting video in the offices of his upcoming TV series, due out this summer. After some random conversations with the show's producers, writers and what not, he left the office and followed his stylist up several flights of stairs to a dressing room and proceded to have his hair and beard color touched up for an upcoming episode taping.

While his head was in the sink, he held the iPhone above him, you could watch the stylists hands massaging the coloring into his face and hair while he answered questions livestream viewers were asking in the app.

It was not a terribly interesting video per se. It was interesting for how casual and behind the scenes it was, and for the fact that it was live, but the content itself was not terribly exciting.

I've also watched video on Periscope of a guy touring the back kitchen of an Olive Garden, before his assistant manager asked him to turn it off.

Yesterday I watched a stream of the President and Airforce One land in Utah.

I've seen several livestreams of people's cats. Like early Instagram before it, people are also livestreaming lots of lunches with friends. And "Show us your fridge", asking people to take their phones to their refridgerator has become a meme of the moment.

There's also an unsavory aspect to the requests of many men on any livestream a woman may be featured in. But again, that's not any different than Stickam that came years before it. (But it is bad enough that Periscope is probably going to have to create some sort of "ban hammer" and let broadcasters, mute commentors.)

Anyway, this long post is long for a reason. You probably didn't read all the above, you probably skimmed it, or read the begining and then skipped to the end, but it's unlikely you read it. You probably also wouldn't have wanted to watch me say it out loud into a camera either. And that's sortof the growing problem with social media, the internet, professional broadcast or streaming video (Cable, Netflix, Hulu, etc.), Youtube and now Livestreaming like, Periscope.

All of the above services need to fight for your attention, but your day still has a fixed length of 24 hours. Every time a new category of device, like mobile livestreaming, VR or smartwatches enter people's lives, the time you devote to them has to be taken from the media and devices that you already have in your orbit.

There are more and more ways for you to transact your attention. But noone is giving people more time to divide that attention.

The one exception may be Google self driving cars. Google wants to have self driving cars, because then you'll have a couple more hours a day to watch youtube videos or ads on your commute.

But noone else really seems to be trying to create more time for all the new media and devices that are being created.

Your boss wants you to work more hours. Your kids need to be scheduled into 5 different weekly afterschool activities. Your social media list has you wanting to join a dozen friends this week at the local grill and pub so that you can get a selfie together. Then there are your own afterwork commitments/clubs you want to participate in.

Even without the devices, people are overscheduled like never before.

So while Livestreaming is neat, what are people going to take time away from to make time to watch them.

I want to hear your

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