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October 20, 2011

The Tetris Effect

From Wikipedia: "The Tetris effect occurs when people devote sufficient time and attention to an activity that it begins to overshadow their thoughts, mental images, and dreams. It is named after the video game Tetris."

"People who play Tetris for a prolonged amount of time may then find themselves thinking about ways different shapes in the real world can fit together, such as the boxes on a supermarket shelf or the buildings on a street. In this sense, the Tetris effect is a form of habit. They might also dream about falling Tetris shapes when drifting off to sleep or see images of falling Tetris shapes at the edges of their visual fields or when they close their eyes. In this sense, the Tetris effect is a form of hallucination or hypnagogic imagery."

October 20, 2011 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Focus-after-shooting Lytro camera is here (almost).

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Excerpts from Sam Grobart's New York Times October 19, 2011 Gadgetwise blog post about Lytro's revolutionary device follow.

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Today, the start-up Lytro has unveiled a new kind of camera that makes a significant leap forward from where photography was yesterday

With Lytro's camera, you can focus on any point in an image taken with a Lytro after you’ve shot the picture.

When viewing a Lytro photograph on your computer, you can simply click your mouse on any point in the image and that area will come into focus. Change the focal point from the flower to the child holding the flower. Make the background blurry and the foreground clear. Do the opposite — you can change the focal point as many times as you like.

Lytro does this by capturing what is called "lightfield" data. The technology has existed in research facilities for more than a decade, but early lightfield cameras were the size of a wall unit in your den.

Lytro's camera fits in your hand.

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By capturing the angle of light beams, all pictures shot with a Lytro camera are natively 3-D (you still need a 3-D display and glasses, but the information's already there). More importantly, the camera no longer has to focus because it’s capturing every focal point, which means there's no focus lag. The camera can respond almost instantly to a shutter-release button.

Images taken with a Lytro are saved in file sizes similar to regular photos, so you can e-mail and post them easily.

Furthermore, each file contains the viewer software, so friends who want to see your Lytro photos do not have to download a viewer or additional programs to see them.

The shape of the camera itself is also something new and different. The aluminum-and-rubber rectangular case is about four and half inches long and features a lens on one side and a touch screen (think iPod nano) on the other.

On top is a shutter-release button and a slider for the 8X optical zoom. On the bottom is a power button and a micro-USB port. That's it.

Photos taken with a Lytro can be stored, viewed and shared on a private account on lytro.com, which will be free.

One-touch links to social networks and e-mail are also featured.

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The camera is powered by a lithium-ion battery.

The entire assembly weighs about half a pound.

Blue and gray models have 8GB of built-in storage (about 350 pictures) and cost $399.

A red model has 16GB of storage (about 750 pictures) and costs $499. The Lytro only works with Macs, but Windows software is in development.

Orders can be placed on lytro.com, but delivery will not take place until the beginning of 2012. 

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Don't take Grobart's word for it: try out the technology for yourself here.

This camera brings to mind three things:

1. "Sentence first—verdict afterwards," from "Alice in Wonderland."

2. "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic," Arthur C. Clarke's Third Law, first published in his 1961 book "Profiles of the Future."

3. The thought that this technology will be in phones within two years.

October 20, 2011 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

"Pages take WAY too long to load" — Episode 2

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Monday's post on this subject resulted in a total of 17 comments over a two day period, about a third of which noted slow loading of boj especially over the past few months and since I increased the size of the pictures.

An equal number of people said they've noticed no slowing or problems with pages loading.

I don't know what to make of it, frankly.

I do know this: if download speeds in the U.S. were like those in South Korea, where the average is 100Mps down, there'd be no slow downloads of anything.

I guess we'll just have to wait till we catch up.

 

October 20, 2011 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Frying Pan (炒め物用フライパン)

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From the website: "元々はオムレツ用に開発されたカタチですので、持って振って炒め物ができる南部鉄のフライパンです。1.2キロですので、一部それができない人もいるでしょう。しかしフタなどなく、一般の南部鉄フライパンに比べて、かなりの軽量化に成功しています。前方だけに深さがあり、中心部分はあまり深さはありません。また、フチは緩やかな微妙な勾配になっています。IH対応"

17660086_o3

¥5,250.

[via Svpply]

October 20, 2011 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Experts' Expert: Video editing tips and tools on YouTube

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In her Wall Street Journal "Digital Solution" column of October 5 Katherine Boehret wrote, "If you've ever recorded a video shot in portrait mode that you'd rather share in landscape or vice versa, the video can be switched to the correct viewing angle, saving viewers from tilting their heads to one side to watch. Do this with YouTube's editor in the cloud, youtube.com/editor. Here, people can edit (including rotate) existing videos or upload new videos. Content can be mixed in with other video clips from the Creative Commons site, soundtracks can be added by choosing from a selection of music, and text slides can be dragged in to display between video clips."

"If you'd rather use a third-party company for editing, multiple options are listed at youtube.com/create. A company called Vlix recently announced its integration with the YouTube site, bringing its editing features from the Vlix iPhone app — like artsy designs and text slides — to the site. Magisto automatically skims videos for the best footage and creates short clips with that content, and the Xtranormal Movie Maker lets people add text, such as a personal narration, to an animated video. (Never underestimate the entertainment value of hearing your words come out of an animated bear with a robotic voice.)"

October 20, 2011 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Limited-Edition Mugshot iPad Case

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"This is a padded iPad case with images of notorious celebs in their finest (and not so finest) moments, including Jimmy Hendrix, Johnny Cash, Puffy, Paris Hilton and loads more."

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$55.20.

October 20, 2011 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

WPA Posters at the Library of Congress

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Exemplars

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above and below.

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See all 932 here.

 

October 20, 2011 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Quacking Duck Timer

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If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it must be a timer.

$14.25.

October 20, 2011 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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