Technology 

Correcting the capture time of your photos 

I prefer my photos’ metadata to include the correct capture time, regardless of which timezone it was taken in. But I would never spend time to figure out how to adjust the built-in clock on my camera. And even if that was easy, I would always forget to do it anyway.

So when I travel, I just take photos of clocks and then use those to adjust the capture time of the whole set. Usually there are plenty of clocks on transport systems, and, as you know, photos I take mainly have to do with transport. This one is from the London Tube:

Correcting the capture time of your photos

In Lightroom, I select the whole set of photos from some trip, then choose a photo of a clock (this does not void the selection), and then I set the photo’s capture time to whatever the clock displays. This makes Lightroom adjust the capture time of all selected photos accordingly.

This method is great because it does not require any discipline: you can adjust time whenever you want. A couple of days ago I needed a photo from 2005, and it had the wrong capture time. I just found a photo of a clock in that set and corrected the whole set in a matter of seconds.

Sometimes І would notice an accidental clock or watch in some photo and just glance at the capture time. Yep, it is all right with this one from Trafalgar Square:

Obviously, the ideal camera should know the time without any action on my part, as the iPhone does. Or, better, the camera should be just an iPhone dock. But this is unfortunately not the case with my Canon.

   
2014   lifehack   photo   technology   world
2014   music   technology

How I bought into the iOS 7 icons’ large circles 

Many designers seem to not like the size of the circles in iOS 7 icons constructed with the help of “Jonny Ive’s grid”. Here is a fragment from Neven Mrgan’s blog:

The large circle is too big. Many apps in iOS 7 use it: all the Store apps, Safari, Messages, Photos… In all these icons, the big shape in the center is simply too big. Every icon designer I’ve asked would instead draw something like the icon on the right. To our eyes—and we get paid to have good ones, we’re told—this is more correct.

At first, I also liked the smaller “iOS 6 style” circle better, it looked more balanced to me. But I also kept thinking that there was something good about the new icon. Somehow the fact that there were almost no margins around the circle makes it look lighter. Why?

A couple of days ago I accidentally saw a state-of-the-art washing machine (by pure accident it turned out to be Samsung). My own washing machine is about 20 years old, but it still works fine, so I never bothered to look at the new ones. On the left, the washing machine I saw, or the right, my own one:

Notice something? After having seen the one on the left, I can no longer tolerate the old iOS 6 icons. Those gigantic margins make them look heavy and outdated (like the washing machine on the right). The old TV sets’ curvy screens also had very large areas around them, it was technically necessary. The old houses had very small windows, or it would be next to impossible to heat them. But today people build houses where the whole wall is a window. Televisions try to have as thin frames as possible. And washing machines have large transparent doors.

The new App Store icons should be spacious. There is no need to balance the inner and outer parts of the circle: the outer part has no reason to exist at all. At the same time, the bigger the App Store sign is within the icon, the easier it is to see it. Which is a win.

What we perceive as beautiful is largely defined by the technological progress.

   
2013   design   iOS 7   technology
2013   technology   video

A stylus and a touchscreen 

One of Steve Jobs’s quotes goes:

If they need a stylus, they blew it

Does it mean that no device and no app should ever be used with a stylus? I do not think so and I suppose neither did Steve. The key word is need.

A stylus for a touchscreen is the same as a pencil for the “real life”. There is a place for it, but it is not required. Your fridge does not require a pencil to open it. Your bed does not require a pencil to take a nap on it. And so your smartphone does not require a stylus to make a call.

But when you draw something, you usually want a tool: a pencil or a brush — or a stylus, if you use an iPad. Styli are not included with the iPads, but make perfect sense as separate products.

   
2013   technology

Apple and Kaspersky 

If an executive at some company announces a product or any meaningful partnership with Apple or somebody says that such an announcement has been made, ignore the news. It’s easy: Apple announces all its stuff itself.

Kaspersky’s CTO says Apple asked it to analyze OS X for vulnerabilities. Resolution: bullshit. Let’s imagine for a second that Apple really did ask Kaspersky to do that. Obviously Apple would want that Kaspersky keep their mouth shut. Why would Kaspersky ignore that and speak out anyway? Only one explanation: because they are not in any relationships with Apple and never were.

Kaspersky likes to publicly say bad things about Apple and its security. It doesn’t matter if they are even right, but they surely repel Apple. Apple completely ignored their latest attempt to “help” with Flashback. Do you want help from someone who bashes you all the time?

Kaspersky is terrified that soon there will be no place for them in the world and they are desperately trying to make people think they are important. I’m sure they analyze OS X for vulnerabilities day and night without any requests from Apple in hope to find something and say: you need us. Of course security experts will always have job. But if Apple needs them, they will have a job at Apple.

   
2012   Apple   technology

The beauty of silence 

Breaking news:

A law was passed that in order to drive a car [...] in Britain, there had to be a person walking in front of the car, waving a red flag and blowing a horn.

OK, this is not news, this is history. But, wasn’t it ridiculous? Waving a red flag and blowing a horn! Like an idiot!

Now, to the news. Electric cars are beautifully quiet, but can be dangerous: people don’t know the car is approaching and get killed. And so car manufacturers are making the cars produce artificial noise. Like idiots. The article even says that “recent legislative efforts in the US are making it mandatory that companies add artificial engine sounds to electric vehicles”. Here’s an Audi video about production of such sounds:

They are trying to make it “cool”, but it is so wrong. Noise does not make a car any more useful. Noise is there because of the imperfect aging technology, not because we wanted it to be there. Noise is pollution, we must get rid of it.

People will get used to the beauty of silence. And love it.

   
2012   life   technology   video

DSLR cameras should become iPhone docks 

If you just want to take a picture, you use your iPhone. But what if you want great quality? Not “great for a phone”, but plain great? You shoot with a DSLR camera.

Unfortunately, DSLRs are painfully outdated. With them you can’t tweet or email photos, you can’t crop or adjust them and you can’t organize your library. And to get your photos anywhere, you’ll need a cord or a compatible card reader. This is ridiculous given that it’s 2012.

Adding all these features to cameras, on the other hand, seems unrealistic. It will take years of work and the UI will be terrible. Doubt it? Just look at your current camera buttons and menus and imagine setting up a twitter account on it. It’s crazy, no one would ever do this even if they had the feature.

The solution: remove everything from the back side of the camera and make it an iPhone dock:

Here are the features you get for free (or at low cost) after you’ve done this:

  • Super high quality touch screen. Use iPhone to configure presets and settings or as a viewfinder when necessary.
  • Store photos on the phone, share photos with anyone on any service.
  • Get your photos backed up to iTunes or iCloud’s Photo Stream wirelessly.
  • Watch photos and videos wirelessly with Airplay.
  • Get location tags on all photos.
  • Use the phone as a reserve power source.
  • Edit photo and video with apps from Instagram to iMovie.
  • Use advanced developer tools to extend this list to your liking.

OK, stop me, or I can just list all the iPhone features and say they are now features or this awesome DSLR.

Since you don’t have to include all this stuff with the camera, it will be dramatically cheaper to produce. And since it makes the camera so much more useful, it’s an incredible profit opportunity. How come nobody has done it yet?

   
2012   iPhone   technology

Tech specs as a measure of ineffectiveness 

John Gruber on irrelevance of tech specs today:

Spec-based reviews of computers and gadgets are inherently flawed, a relic of an era that’s already gone. Movie reviews are about what the movie is like to watch. Is it enjoyable, is it entertaining, does it look and sound good? Imagine a movie review based on specs, where you gave points for how long it was, whether the photography is in focus, deduct points for continuity errors in the story, and then out comes a number like “7,5 / 10”, with little to no mention about, you know, whether the movie was effective as a piece of art.

High tech specs sometimes say just how bad a device is.

CPU clock speed and amount of RAM is a measure of device’s ineffectiveness. Just think about a 350 hp car that gets to 60 mph in 30 seconds. Something is obviously wrong with it.

If some device has too much memory or too fast processor, two things follow: 1) it costs more than it could have, since you pay for unnecessary hardware; 2) the battery life is worse than it could have been, since all this hardware consumes power.

A company should tell us how awesome and amazing “as a piece of art” their new device is, and then add, just for the geeks, that it has just a single-core 500-MHz processor and 128 MB of RAM. Wow, such a cool device with specs this low? That might be interesting.

   
2011   Gruber   technology