Category Archives: Technology

We Can Land A Probe on a Comet, But…

We can’t seem to get the hang of text transcription.

WSJ2

In a mind-blowing feat of scientific achievement, the European Space Agency successfully landed a probe on a comet this week. That’s amazing. In its video coverage, the Wall Street Journal assembled a video wrap-up with a transcription that was well, interesting…

WSJ1The transcribing robot is clearly on something and needs to go home. I picture its voice like that of Slater from the film Dazed and Confused in a finer moment.

Here’s a summary of the event at the official Flickr blog, which links to the ESA’s Flickr stream which, as you might guess, is full of some dazzling imagery and updates from the Rosetta probe these days.

esa

And here’s the full text of the Wall Street Journal transcription. Remember to picture it read in stoner voice:

a tiny robot called feline meet St day … this means to buy a few that … shows the man to just three km above the surface of the call for many of the scientists who work there has been a ticking along with another crucial moment has finally come … feel that has landed … it is the first time in history … as a spacecraft landed … on the alien landscape awful cough the the the uh uh uh uh uh uh uh uh the the who believe that most of whom the YouTube is … nobody looks great it and as of this of this … sickness who looked as though one more crucial with the head … up to seven not descend from its mother ship present or … feel a let’s get to work … the job is to learn as much as it can about the comic and as quickly as possible its ten instruments will be taken back to that the errors that … feel as cameras will take high resolution images of its new home into a … the lender will analyze the composition and structure of the comments of this material … has also driven system that will be the material for twenty centimeters below the surface … there will also analyze the water and comic be sixty seven to see if it’s the same chemical flavor as that found on a … if this is confirmed … it would bolster the theory that the sum of its Walker … could have been brought him back on its … beelining also collects valuable data as the sixty seven was closer to the sun … in particular the question of dimensions of life … why has the right to marriage on the ears … oh … and the process by which like the marriage … of a generic in the mirror so specific thrust on us to send … the speedo mammal these critical questions and luckily in the comments have the … the way to offer a clue statistic for that … whatever happens to the land … was at the will continue to travel alongside the comic and take measurements … for Keystone of eighteen months …

-Wall Street Journal, November 12, 2014

What do you think? Ever had any funny experiences with text-to-speech software? What are your thoughts on human beings being able to successfully send photos from the surface of a comet? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Advanced Level Invisibility

Corgi

For those interested in the Advanced Level Invisibility course, Professor Gus here will be focusing on three key areas: 1) stealth poses, 2) blending in with your environment, and 3) utilizing furniture.

Is Kodak the Next PBR?

Could a flavor for the vintage be a win for Kodak?

Kodak-PBR LogoFull disclosure: my first camera was a Kodak, both in film and digital. And their business allegory is one for the ages in terms of a Shakespearean rise to dominance and a spectacular fall from greatness. So it was with keen interest I noted this story at Marketplace on modern film directors wanting to shore up Kodak film for motion picture production. Similar to the way Pabst Blue Ribbon is a long-standing brand that has developed a retro-cred cachet, or the way General Motors is evolving the Cadillac brand — an iconic namesake being reworked for modern relevance — the thought is that there’s enough of a desire for “the way things used to be” to make this happen for Kodak. As one with an active creative pursuit involving photography and image-making, as well as an understanding of corporate communication and PR, I think this could happen, but only, as Marketplace notes, if investment indeed goes toward innovation, rather than propping up the status quo: Personally, I have great nostalgic fondness for brands like Kodak, and have to respect the call of talented creators like Quentin Tarantino and J.J. Abrams furthering this cause. Good on those guys, who, like me, have appreciation for the past and feel that some things are worth keeping around, especially in the name of art.

What do you think? Do you have a preference for anything being done “the old-fashioned way?” Are there any brands you immediately think of as nostalgic yet still with us? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Olloclip Macro Lens and Quick Clip Case for iPhone Review

Macro, close-up photography via smartphone opens a whole new world of detail and interesting possibilities for mobile photographers.

Olloclip macro lens and Quick Flip case

Olloclip macro lens and Quick Flip case.

And for the more committed practitioners, I definitely recommend stepping up to the Olloclip macro lens.

I happened upon Olloclip’s booth at the SXSW trade show recently, and after a hands-on look at the lens and accompanying Quick Flip case (impressive engineering in its own right), I bought one on the spot thanks to the show special of getting a free case with a lens purchase. Gotta’ love trade shows.

The whole outfit is deliberately and intelligently engineered. The system is everything an accessory lens should be: easy, convenient, strong, affordable; and the case is really what sold me, since it solves for my major gripe of having to otherwise remove a case or deal with a less desirable alternative (such as an adhesive magnet, or just manually holding the lens to the iPhone). I also dig the futuristic, sleek design of the case — it has almost a cyborg-esque feel and even allows for tripod attachment.

Here’s a video review of the case itself:

And here’s a look at my first project with the Olloclip Macro lens:

Macro Budding Cactus Flower

“Budding Time”
This is a close look at a budding cactus from my kitchen with a little extra lens flare. What’s extra cool to me is that some of the flare spots happened organically, and so that inspired me to add a little more via the LensFlare app. I did some post-processing with Dynamic Light, and voila: surrealism macro magic.

Feather at Regular and Macro View:

feather macro

Here’s a feather from a pillow on my kitchen table at regular view, then at 21x via the Olloclip lens, with no post-processing. You can actually count the individual barbules. Also, I’m excited to use the word “barbules” in a blog post.

These results speak for themselves. While there are a number of macro lenses available for smartphones, Olloclip has gotten it right at every level.

I’ve long been a fan of my previous macro lens made by Olloclip’s competitor, Photojojo, and at $20, it’s still one heckuva deal — a great way to get familiar with the possibilities of macro photography via smartphone. But for a bit more up front ($70 for the Olloclip macro lens), you get much more overall. Pair it with the Quick Flip case, and you’ll be set for some serious macro fun for a long time to come.

What do you think? Ever used an accessory lens for smartphone photography? Or for traditional camera photography? What’s a discovery you’ve treated yourself to lately? Let us hear from you in the comments.

My Art Website: RSMITHINGS.com

So I have this new website for my photomontage artwork: RSMITHINGS.com (Richard + Smith + things = rsmithings). I assign it full blame for the lack of regular postings around here lately. But that’s OK, since I’m my own boss as far as this blog goes. I called a departmental meeting, and we worked it all out.

RSMITHINGS.com - Ephemeral Surrealism PhotomontageBut seriously, check out my art project. If you’re reading this then you’ve probably seen fit to subscribe to this blog for some weird reason, and I truly value your perspective. I produce these artworks in my spare time using images from my everyday surroundings, travels, and specially-commissioned photos.

My Super-official Artist Statement:

My process is like carving a sculpture, with the edges of my fingers forming lines to define shapes and reveal serendipitous relationships — not unlike physically placing individual elements as in a paper collage — except I do this through masking, blending and mimicking established photographic techniques like solarization or vignetting. Each piece is meticulously crafted with these and other ingredients, using direct touch to form a hierarchy of narrative. A final composition is the culmination of fusing disparate elements into a kind of empyrean abstract union.

Wow! Fancy, huh?

The hardest thing to do for the site was to write a decent statement like that. The rest of the content I was able to assemble in my spare time in just a few weeks, populating it with pieces I’ve created over the last couple of years, and I’m still adding to the portfolio.

Some Recent Creations:

RSMITHINGS - Portfolio

It’s been a thrill for me to get all this in one place,
and I do hope you enjoy it.

What do you think? Ever created or been featured on an art website? Are you interested In surrealism? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Bass Solo at Gibson Tent, CES

Here I am doing a quick jam on a fine Gibson bass guitar.

I happened to be at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and along the way I came upon the Gibson tent with several guitars and basses ready for visitors to enjoy. Amid all the technological fanfare, this is definitely my favorite experience of the entire event: a chance to rock out, even if just for a moment during lunch.

Thanks, Gibson for doing this. Very cool.

Here are some Hipstamatic images of the beautiful Epiphone Jack Casady Signature Bass I played:

jcbass1

jcbass02

jcbass03

I also got in some licks on this Les Paul:

December

It’s been one long month. So far.

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I did this post with the WordPress app via my iPhone. I created this image with the app, Decim8. Hence, this making the technology category. I did this mainly because it’s been too long since the last post, and because this December has been one very busy month. Phew.