Posts tagged ‘Technology’
I decided to check the little laptop computer which runs the APRS iGate software. It’s been running for 190 days, totally ignored. The only reason it has not been running longer is because 190 days ago, there was an extended power failure and the computer had to shut down.
The iGate has been running for 18 months now and I think it has been shut down only twice – both for power failures. That’s pretty good. It’s 0.9996 up time!
You can read about the setup in this old post.
Having recently modernized my transportation to a 2011 Ford F150, I’m having to acclimate to modern technology in car audio.
Perhaps ‘acclimate’ is too strong a word. “Shocked that it works” is really what I’ve been thinking.
The truck in question has an early version of Microsoft’s Sync – which provides some level of voice control and integration with smartphones. In my case, the capabilities include a direct USB connection and Bluetooth. The Bluetooth integrates my phone for voice dialing and hands free calls. It also plays music (both playlists and from Pandora). The USB connection doesn’t give me phone integration but does give me the music integration and adds song text on the display. Of the two, Bluetooth is easier and more function – as soon as I enter the vehicle and start up, the Bluetooth connect is made automatically. I don’t even need to take the phone from my pocket.
There is one oddity. You can charge the phone from the USB connection but when the phone is connected to USB it takes precedence over the Bluetooth connection. If you want the benefits of Bluetooth and you want to charge the device, you need to use a cigarette adapter.
BTW – the photo is from a recent road trip with Pandora playing on the iPhone thru the USB connection while simultaneously running TomTom navigation.
Ain’t technology grand ?
While I take a lot of photographs, I do not always take good ones. Typically, I am either capturing something that “looks interesting” or I plan ahead and am taking pictures of a particular subject matter. More often than not, the iPhone is the camera for the first category while my 2nd hand Nikon D700 (and a 20 yr old lens) is my camera of choice for the second.
If there is a good photograph somewhere in the many frames I've shot, I want to post it to this blog. That requires some form of workflow to get the picture from the camera, make any adjustments, compose the supporting narration, and then upload it to the blog.
For iPhone pictures, that all takes place within the phone. For shots with the Nikon, there are a few more steps.
I've previously written on using an Eye-Fi card with the D700. I have configured the eye-fi to selectively transfer images (uses the 'lock' or 'protect' feature on the camera). This gives me a level of filtering since I often take several pictures of the same subject, knowing some will have better composition than others.
Once the pictures are on my iPad, I use the built in camera roll App to pick the ones I will be using in the blog post or email. Those get a little more consideration. I'm currently using the Snapspeed App for most of my processing, including cropping, color balance, dodging & burning, and emphasis.
When I will be using more than one image, I decide if they will be used individually or as a photo set. I use Strip Design for making photo sets. One feature of Strip Design I am using more often is the ability to create a specific layout rather than use one of the predefined layouts. The above photo set is an example. I looked at the images I had processed with Snapspeed and from their relative sizes – tall, wide, square,etc. – I 'cut' a page into my desired layout. After adding the photos to he layout, I decide if I want any type of treatment, bordrs, etc. then I save the finished image back to the camera roll.
On the iPad in using the Blogsy App. While the app is pretty good, it does have one annoying limitation – it uploads your images and then uses CSS to scale the image to the page. I would prefer it to upload the image and then let me choose one of the optimised images which WordPress has generated.
WordPress automatically generates up to four scaled images for each upload – thumbnail, small, medium, and large. The blog administrator defines what actual sizes correspond to these descriptions.
My solution is to complete my work in Blogsy and have it load the finished article to the blog as a draft. Then I can just reload the draft and switch from Blogsy's CSS scaled image to one of WordPress's generated images. This makes the blog more efficient to load for readers.
Feel free to post any questions !
I recently read a New York Times article on police using a smartphone app to get information “on the street”. What I took from the article is that LEOs would love fast simple access to large amounts of data to get the snippet that is of value “right there; right then”.
One aspect of Mobile Computing that is “the game changer” is what I use to refer to as “just in time information”. Ten years ago it was a concept that was not possible. Now it is. The keys to just-in-time information is that the device knows some of the parameters of the search – the “when” and “where”. The user specifies the “what”.
While this model is too simple for all information requests, it does simplify most searches. Another capability mobile designers are slow to incorporate is voice.
Voice dictation / input is what I call a “first order” voice capability. We need to be thinking beyond that. For iOS users, this would be Siri-style integration. There are obvious security issues (we can’t give Apple access to all the necessary data) but it is a concept to be thinking about. All of this will be converging – and soon.
Two technologies are going to stretch our current thinking of Mobile First – smart watches and smart glasses. These will exploit voice, GPS, and constant display I/O to a much greater extend than anything we are targeting today. They will emphasize “just-in-time” information.
What is important is to be thinking about “what’s next”. When I lead discussions on designing for mobile I frequently remind the audience they can not think of their designs the way they did for the desktop. Many of the current mobile design patterns didn’t exist even 12 months ago. Change is happening much more quickly in mobile design than it has ever happened in physical design or previous generations of computer design.
Assume this to continue … at least until the next big change
I’m bummed that these apps are only available from SingTel in Singapore but having lived there, I always knew they had great ideas and creative ways to make them reality.
Do I want these apps for myself? Not yet
As the family “technical support” contact, many of the apps would solve some of the common challenges I face with an active iPhone touting octogenarian. Things like accidentally removing a contact from the “Favorites” list … or using the camera as a to-do list … or when a new medication needs to be added to the daily routine.
A Singapore-based company is developing intuitive apps that they hope will ease the transition to smartphones.
Silverline Mobile, a project under sustainable business firm Newton Circus, has already rolled out five iPhone apps targeted toward those 60 or older in the Singapore market.
“We want to create, essentially, a category. We want apps for seniors,” said Jason Aspes, co-founder of Silverline. Read more…