Damn. They’re getting pretty good at this.
Posts Tagged as: tech-gear
This is a pretty cool 3d printing demo.
It’s fun to extrapolate how fast 3d printing will get in the future. We’re getting closer, quite literally, to objects appearing out of thin air.
This video gives new meaning to “keep your eye on the ball.”
This is one of the coolest/geekiest things I’ve ever seen.
After hearing digital interference in a YouTube video from a helicopter police chase, this hacker was able to figure out the helicopter’s flight path on Google Earth.
Here’s how she did it. Total badass.
Read the rest of her blog for some fun hacking adventures. This particular passage had me particularly entertained. While she was waiting to get some takeout food, the server handed her one of those papers that vibrates when your table is ready.
For this kind of situations I often carry my RTL2832U-based television receiver dongle with me (the so-called rtl-sdr). Luckily this was one of those days! I couldn’t help but tune in to 450.2500 MHz and see what’s going on there.
This looks like something straight out of a science fiction movie.
The full explanation is here. It has something to do with super-heating the carbon coils so they bend light. It’s pretty damn cool. This nano-stuff is finally giving us the cool science fiction future we’ve been imagining for centuries.
This book, written in 1896, is a fascinating example of human ingenuity and cleverness. We don’t normally associate technical innovation with the 1800s, but don’t forget that’s when machines and automation in factories really started to take off.
Inspired by the book, Matt Keveney created a companion site 507movements.com, where he is animating some of the examples.
Check out some of these examples and you’ll see why this is so cool.
Whenever I see people using Vine with no hands, I assumed they were doing it with paperclips and sponges or something. But it turns out you can do it completely from the phone itself. Duh.
The basic idea is to use the iPhone’s built-in functionality for helping people with motor problems. In this case their deficit is our benefit. Nice!
First, go to Settings > General > Accessibility and turn “AssistiveTouch” on.
Then you’ll create a new gesture. Just tap and hold in the center of the screen until the time limit runs out. You’re probably figuring out where this is going.
Then save that gesture and call it whatever you want. I called mine “Vine” because I’m original.
Notice that when you turned on AssistiveTouch it added a little circle thingy to your phone? Well that’s how you activate the gesture you just made.
Tap the circle, choose “Favorites”, then tap “Vine”. Then it will add an extra blue circle to your screen. Tap that blue circle to start recording.
If you’re having trouble, here are some things I’ve noticed:
You can reposition that AssistiveTouch circle thingy by dragging it. Sometimes using it in Vine only works when it’s on the left middle side of the screen.
Sometimes your Custom Gesture of just tapping and holding in the middle of the screen doesn’t work. So try making a new gesture where you tap, hold, and slightly move your finger around in a circle.
Sometimes ending the Vine video is tricky. If you can’t tap the Next button in Vine, hit the home button and wait a few seconds, then relaunch the app. Your Vine should still be there.
So that’s how to Vine with no hands. Enjoy, and keep using Vine to record your stupid crap!
This website looks amazing: thatsmyface.com. Apparently it can make a 3D model of your face based on photographs, then print it on action figures, legos, 3D sculptures, and more.
If anyone tries it let me know!
The steady march toward increasing flash drive storage never ceases to amaze me.
Case in point; the newest and highest capacity flash drive as of January 2013: A 1TB thumb drive from Kingston.
I remember just a few years ago I was astonished they made a 16GB thumb drive. In 2010 I picked up my Corsair Flash Voyager for a bit over $100. Now it’s just $17.95 on Amazon. Sigh…
The craziest thing is that while this 1TB flash drive sounds impressive now, in a few years this post will seem silly. A bit like this:
(Image via Vintagecomputing.com)
It looks like the camera pixel wars are evolving into the video front. Canon’s new 1Dc is aimed at pro photographers who want the best of both worlds; the ability to shoot video large enough to pull still frames from.
This promotional video is pretty impressive in showing off the capabilities of the new Canon 1Dc, and I like how honest they are about the tradeoffs of pulling stills from compressed video, VS shooting raw:
We know we’re not shooting RAW. We may see RAW in the next generation of DSLRs, so it does mean you do need to have things pretty spot on like exposure, white balance in-camera.
As far as promotional videos go, it’s extremely well done. But I thought I’d do a simple visual comparison of how the resolution stacks up, compared with a selection of common devices that are known for their impressive resolution.
The takeaway is that 4K does seem like an alternative to shooting stills when you want to be sure you’re capturing everything. Sacrificing about half the pixel count of a 5D Mark II is a small price to pay for making sure you get the shot. Available for a paltry $11,999 at B&H.
Tip of the hat to Canon Rumors.
As someone who’s stuck it out with an iPhone 3GS for the past two years, my upgrade to the iPhone 4S has me most excited about its improved camera.
Overall the 4S photos are sharper, a little brighter, and seem to display more dynamic range across the board. There’s also better flare control, as you can see in the last photo. This is by no means a scientific or accurate comparison – just a little real-world example of what types of improvements we can expect with the 4S.
In these photos I’m holding an iPhone 3Gs in front of two computer displays running Apple’s iPhone Simulator. The Simulator is running a virtualized version of iOS 4.0.1 set to mimic the iPhone 4 device. The iPhone 4 simulator looks huge on the computer screens because today’s Macs have pixel densities in the 72-120 range, while the iPhone 4’s pixel density is 326.
Pre-dousing any flamey comments, I’m fully aware this is 100% unscientific so I offer this information purely for my own delight. That said, if you have something positive to share, surprise me. :-)
Let’s take a tour of what it might look like to peer through some of the world’s most powerful and expensive camera lenses, shall we?
To set a baseline, here’s a photo of Long Island City’s Citibank building taken with a regular ‘ol Canon 17-40mm zoom lens at 22mm. You can see the full photo on the top left, and a 100%, 1:1 zoom in the center of the screen. Click it to view it at actual size. Go on, click it.
And here’s a shot with my most powerful zoom lens – a Canon 70-200mm 2.8L.
Now the fun begins. Let’s see how much closer we can get by shooting through a 20-60x Nikon spotting scope.
40mm lens + spotting scope @ 20x (~800mm lens):
The photo above is pretty much as close as you’d get with an 800mm lens (although, obviously, the 800mm lens would have better image quality and the edges wouldn’t be completely darkened). Canon makes an 800mm lens and you can pick one up for a cool $11,000 at Adorama.
So let’s move on to 1200mm territory.
40mm lens + spotting scope @ 30x (~1200mm lens):
If you wanted to take the above photo without the black edges and degraded image quality, you could pick up Canon’s 1200mm, $120,000 lens from B&H. It’s the largest lens Canon makes and you can read more about it here.
Let’s get closer…
40mm lens + spotting scope @ 42.5x (~1700mm lens):
The photo above approximates the focal length of the world’s largest telephoto lens, made by Carl Zeiss. Badass.
100mm lens + spotting scope @ 20x (~2000mm lens):
Now we’re at 2000mm. Nikon made a 2000mm lens using mirrors a while back.
200mm lens + spotting scope @ 20x (~4000mm lens):
100mm lens + spotting scope @ 60x (~6000mm lens):
To get any closer, someone once took Canon’s 1200mm lens and paired it with a 7.2x crop factor video camera to create a 8640mm focal length.
200mm lens + spotting scope @ 60x (~12000mm lens):
And there you have it – an example of how close you’d get with a 12000mm lens. Judging from the focal-length-to-price ratio of Canon’s 1200mm lens, getting a crystal clear full-frame shot of the Citibank building this close would run you $1,200,000. And that’s all I have to say about that.
File this under “would someone please invent this for me?”
I already have a few of these types of “squid” power strips and they’re fantastic. But imagine if each one had a wi-fi chip so you could control the flow of power to each plug from an iPhone (or computer) app? That’s right – total mindfuck.
This way you could tag each individual outlet in your home (presumably you’d have a few of these babies scattered around) letting you turn anything on or off (or dim it) while either not getting off your ass or from another location. You could also program the iPhone app’s acceleratometer (assuming Apple lets us run background apps eventually) to detect if you’re out and about, turning off a specified set of lights and electronics in your home. …Or if the software hooked into the iPhone’s microphone you could make it a modern overpriced version of “The Clapper.” …Or you could have it automatically adjust the lighting based on the mood of the music it hears. …Or you could just talk to the damn thing. “Turn off the goddamn coffee machine.”
There are tons of other cool things you could do with this (many of which are marginally, if at all useful), but the possibilities are so endless that to me it just seems like a good fit.
I’m sure similar things exist already, but my hunch is that if someone came along and presented a polished, cheap, turn-key system they’d make a killing. Just not in this economy.
Say it ain’t so! Looks like they’re finally pulling the plug on that aging Sony PSP billboard on Houston Street.
The fact that I can hit 95% accuracy while playing Blitzkrieg Bop on expert level in Rock Band is something to be proud of. But the fact that I posted a video of myself doing it to my blog is something to be horribly horribly ashamed of.
One of my favorite lenses, if not my absolute favorite, is the Canon 70-200 mm 2.8L IS. I also have the 2X extender, but am sometimes a little hesitant to use it because I know it blurs the imagery a bit, as well as decreases the maximum aperture to 5.6.
So a while back I did a little side-by-side comparison to find some of the benefits and drawbacks to using the 2X extender. Let’s have a look, shall we?
Below are two photos taken with my 5D – the one on the left is using the 2X extender and the one on the right is not. Both shots were taken handheld at ISO 400, f5.6, and with a shutter speed of 1/400:
Clearly, there’s no parking on Wednesdays from 8:30 to 10 AM. Also, you shouldn’t litter. So let’s increase the image on the right’s resolution from 300 to 600 (2x) to compare it:
Cool. Now they’re the same size and the real comparison can begin. First and foremost, the image on the right (no extender, enlarged in PS) looks a little punchier, even though the image on the left (2X extender) is slightly sharper. It’s an interesting comparison because they both have their good and bad aspects. So let’s sharpen the image on the left and have another look:
Now that’s what I’m talking about. In the above image, I think it’s pretty clear that the image on the left with the extender is the winner here. So let’s take it a step further and enlarge them both. You know, for shits and giggles and stuff:
By now they’re both pretty much starting to look crappy. But it’s important to note that it’s possible to make out the “DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION” on the image on the left, and not on the right. To me that sealed the deal.
So my conclusion is that when there’s plenty of light and I’m trying to zoom as close as possible, I’m better off using the 2X extender. When there’s low light, however, my guess is that you’re better off not using the extender because you’ll need that 2.8 aperture to stop as much motion as possible. But that’s a comparison for another day. Or should I say, another night. And that right there is the funniest thing you’ll read all day.
I spotted this DeLorean on my commute yesterday. Even though it’s a simple design, I still think the LeLorean is one of the coolest looking cars around. But I can’t decide if I’d like the DeLorean as much if it wasn’t featured in Back to the Future. Is the car that awesome looking, or is my opinion tainted?
Thinking about the DeLorean also reminds me of one of my first original (and semi intentionally-cheesy) songs I made on my Mac. It’s a throwback to the magic and wonder that is the 1980s. I called it “DeLorean Dreams” and you can listen to it here.
By now, many of us are aware that you can replicate the characteristics of a tilt-shift lens with Photoshop. But I’ve always been curious about just how closely Photoshop can recreate the complex bokeh (image blur) that results from a real tilt-shift lens. So with this burning question in my head, I rented a tilt-shift lens and went to work…
Being somewhat of a photography nut, I recently set out to buy a second camera to carry around for those times when my Canon 5D and slew of lenses would be overkill. After doing a bit of research I settled on the Canon Powershot G9, and last week I finally picked one up. So far I’ve been very impressed with the camera, but I wanted to see how it would hold up against the 5D in an unscientific yet unbiased comparison. And the results were pretty surprising. Sample photos and descriptions for the über photo geeks are below…