Categories
Digital Lifestyles Media

Set Your DVR: IBM’s Watson on Jeopardy tonight!

After 4 years of hard work, IBM’s Watson is finally scheduled to appear starting tonight on Jeopardy.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FC3IryWr4c8

Find out more about Watson, visit the IBM Watson webpage.

Nova’s episode about Watson.

(In Houston, set your DVRs to record at 11:30 pm on Local CBS Station KHOU)

Categories
Digital Lifestyles Media Photography

Ansel Adams: Analog Photography and the Creative Process Revisited

I recently visited the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, to view an exhibit of Ansel Adams works titled Ansel Adams: Eloquent Light. The show ran from May 29 through November 7, 2010. In total, I made four trips to the museum to see this exhibit.

Ansel Easton Adams was born in early 1902 to parents Charles and Olive Adams in San Francisco, California. As a boy, his family traveled to Yosemite (which had become a national park in 1890) when he was about 14 years old, an experience which provided life-long inspiration. As a young man he studied to become a concert pianist, but was hampered by arthritis in his hands.

Adams first acknowledged photograph is an image dating to 1927. His formative photography years were in a period of photographic innovation;

Categories
Featured Gadgets Media Software

Ironman Central by Zumobi

Have a little thing for the “Man in Red”? Wait no longer, die hard Marvel fans, with a little help from Zumobi, there’s an APP for that!

Although there are members of my household, dying to get their hands on this bad boy, I have not yet had the pleasure of testing it out. However, I was able to get a little sneak peak into the highly anticipated game and we are definitely looking forward to it’s release. Here’s what Zumobi has to say about it…

Marvel Launches Iron Man Central, the New iPhone and iPod Touch Application on The Zumobi Network

[slidepress gallery=’zumobi-ironman’]

Zumobi, a leading mobile media company, and Marvel Entertainment recently announced the launch of Iron Man Central, the official Iron Man application for the iPhone and iPod touch. In anticipation of the biggest movie release of the year, IRON MAN 2, the Iron Man Central app provides fans new and old with an immersive experience into the world of the Super Hero everyone’s talking about.

“The first IRON MAN film was extremely successful due to the incredibly loyal and passionate fan base. In anticipation of IRON MAN 2, we wanted to bring additional content to Iron Man fans and moviegoers, and could think of no better way than to bring it to a mobile app,” said Ira Rubenstein, Executive Vice President of Marvel’s Global Digital Media Group. “We believe this app gives users an even more complete Iron Man experience by delivering news, videos and exclusive wallpapers, as well as special character profiles. And if you want to find show times for IRON MAN 2, this app will do that for you, as well.”

Using Iron Man Central, fans have access to all things Iron Man from his origin, to current news, exclusive wallpapers, video content, direct links to Iron Man content on iTunes and more. With a stunning user interface modeled after the hologram interface inside Iron Man’s suit, fans discovering Iron Man Central will be blown away by ease of use and navigation. The app also allows fans to purchase movie tickets through the app itself, so no fan misses a single showing of IRON MAN 2. The app also arrives with two free wallpapers and additional wallpapers are $.99.

Iron Man Central seamlessly integrates with users’ e-mail, Twitter and Facebook accounts, allowing them to share exciting new Iron Man content with friends and family.

“Marvel is a forward-looking organization that is well positioned to take advantage of the amazing new possibilities available in the mobile channel,” said Ken Willner, CEO of Zumobi. “By combining Marvel’s bold and unique visuals with the iconic character of Iron Man and Zumobi’s content-rich app format, we have the opportunity to offer moviegoers and fans an extension of the film experience. We’re thrilled to expand the Zumobi Network’s entertainment channel with this highly valuable property.”

Iron Man Central is available for free on Apple’s App Store and as a part of The Zumobi Network, the leading publishing partner for top media companies. It can be downloaded HERE.

Categories
Media Photography

Rollip.com: Polaroid Nostalgia

Nostalgic for the Polaroid look? Wishing for the ability to make snapshots look like Polaroids? There's a fast, easy-to use solution. All it involves is an upload, a brief wait, and a download.

Check out http://www.rollip.com/ which takes you to a site by Rollip. Click the website to start; this takes you to a page of original images and Polaroid "look" variations that take you back to the days of slight color mismatch, over and under development; atmospheric effects and the day-to-day variations of the Polaroid process. Do you remember the excitement of the image developing before your very eyes?

Choose one of the illustrated effects and double click on it. The next window you will see gives you a "click here to upload photo" button. Go ahead, click it! This opens a window to your computer that allows you to browse until you find an image that you want to process. Click and select an image and wait a brief time for your image to upload. The size of the image and your upload speed determines the upload time. But generally, it's brief. Out of curiosity I sent a four megabye .jpg and the upload time was about three minutes in which the upload bar worked its way from red, to orange, to yellow to green. Another thirty to sixty seconds had the image processed and the processed version came up in the display window ready for me to download or send it somewhere.

That's it! Talk about instant nostalgia!

Links are available to send your newly created image directly from Rollip to e-mail, Facebook, Myspace, and other choices you may select.

If you enjoy the use of the site, the folks at Rollip have a Donate link where you can send them what you think the process is worth to you and it's obvious that they have put in some pretty intense work because as a long time user of Polaroid cameras I have to say that they got the "look" down pat, so if you use them and enjoy the effect, then consider a donation.

Along with the twelve basic effects available one of the interesting ones is to choose SMALL POLAROID and several border effects become available with the ability to add a slight amount of text below the image. The text styles range from typewriter to printed handwriting; and all these frames have the slight dark vingette associated with a lens hood on the camera lens or an image square selected slightly larger than the circular image that the camera lens produces.

For the disclaimer, the folks at Rollip don't have any connection to the original Polaroid cameras or film people company which owns the trademark to the Polaroid name. Rollip has simply given you the opportinuty to make a modern photograph look like a process that has sadly, slipped from the current technology scene. Have fun!

 

 

 

What do you say? It's all in the look http://www.rollip.com/

Categories
Featured Media Photography

Enable ICC Profiles in Firefox 3.x

The folks at Mozilla have quietly trumped all the other browsers (with a notable exception) in the area of more correctly displaying colors in photos. So quietly,in fact, they aren’t enabling it in their browser without a minor hack of the registry.  Firefox by default in NOT color manged!

That aforementioned notable exception? Safari, of course. Cross-platform (OS X AND Windows), Safari just works – no registry hacking required.

icc profiles - safari v. firefox- it's easy to overlook that the letters that spell out green are actually red

 

Turning on Firefox is very easy. Follow the instructions in this article by Datacolor, the maker of the popular color profiling Spyder tools and software, to exploit the new feature. You won’t be disappointed.

Should photographers start tagging their website photos with icc profiles and recommending Firefox, or serving content based on browsers? Great question. When you decide the answer to that, please login and add your comments.

Categories
Featured Gadgets Media The Write Stuff

Lost Your Camera? Did You Look On The Internet?

In 1977 while hanging out with some friends in Philly, I inadvertantly left my camera at an outdoor lunch joint near Second and South. Having shared a few bottles of Merlot (to wash down the double cheese steaks with onions and mushrooms) I hadn’t realized the camera was missing until later in the evening and by then, I figured I was out of luck. In those days, there was no craigslist on which to post lost & found, and I had no idea of the name of the place where we’d eaten lunch (see Merlot ref. above) so I couldn’t call them to find out if it was there.

That was then. The camera is history and as time goes on, the memories become soft and faded like an old pair of jeans. Fast forward thirty some years – timing is everything. What you lose today, has a good chance of showing up tomorrow, thanks to the internet and a few good people who still believe in reaching out.

In the summer of 2008 while hiking in New Hampshire, a man named Matt found a camera at the bottom of a river. The camera was completely rusted out and worthless. A kind and curious dude, Matt took the camera home and fiddled with it until he was able to retrieve the memory card from which, after a little more fiddling, he was able to extract over two hundred photos and movie clips.

Taking it one step further, he set up a blog (http://basinfoundcamera.blogspot.com/ ) and posted some of the photos there with hope that the owner of the camera would see them and he could reunite the two. Eight days later, that’s exactly what happened, giving rise to a great new site, aptly called: iFoundYourCamera. (http://ifoundyourcamera.blogspot.com )

Every Thursday the website is updated with photos sent in by people who have found cameras. Those who have lost a camera can browse through the photos and see if they belong to them. The two are then reunited.

The internet provides us with great opportunity, but people and ideas are what bring it to life. For those who look to reach out and perhaps further the greater good, even if it’s only one camera at a time, there is no chasm that can’t be crossed. All you have to do is picture it.

Categories
Media The Not-So-Daily Edition

Virtual Networking in a Brave New World

The Social Network As It Was.

Remember when networking was something that was accomplished at blazer-wearing cocktail parties and on the golf course followed by a cocktail?  Even if you don’t remember that, one must realize historically there was such a thing.  Leaving the house and beating the streets socially was absolutely the only way possible to network in the community and create a name, credibility and resource.  It was an era of creating importance amongst people of importance.

Enter the Digital Era of Networking

Got a computer?  Of course you do.  Well, throw away your taste for shrimp cocktail and the smell of freshly cut grass coupled with too many gin and tonics.  Your social and business network has not only become easier to access but absolutely endless.   You are a rock star in the infinite world of your own virtual networking.

There are no people of self importance.  We now understand that importance is relative to the task.  And we also understand that the tasks are constantly evolving.  It’s a better day.

Modern Party Chatter and Tee Off Times

The basic difference between networking in the past and networking now is the comparison of a closed circle to an infinite web.   There are no limits to a social web presence, guaranteed.  And you don’t have to hear the rancid gossip either.

Creating a brand name or identity in the digital era involves a very simple infrastructure of URL presences coupled with what we in the digital social networking industry like to call maintenance.

The infrastructure is the name branding and the maintenance is the social trust building.

Digital Social Infrastructures

Social networking sites are ever evolving.  They change faster than you can beat an egg.  The sites of interest to networkers today are: Face Book, Twitter and Linked In.  These URL’s maintain groups of social networks that constantly interact, change and identify.  It is imperative in modern social networking that you do not only have one presence but many that interlink.  They work together.

Other important factors that assist in connecting equally are:  e-mail accounts, personal or professional websites and blogs.  Each one of these is a necessary piece but not one of them more important than the others..  That chain is the infinite web of digital social networking.

The system works perfectly.

The Hitch

Quite frankly, even though this system is an extremely effective method to achieve niche recognition – there is one major drawback.  It takes a great deal of time to update, connect and communicate.  There absolutely aren’t enough hours in the day to run a business AND keep an interactive web presence for marketing purposes.

It can be done.  It has to be done.  But it doesn’t have to be done alone.

But not to worry, mind you.  You will notice more agencies that specialize in the area of social networking maintenance to assist in the process.  

And you will notice more specialized niche business coming your way as well as higher sales in the process.

And lastly, you never had to lift a cocktail fork or listen to so and so go on about his bum knee and his bad marriage.  Imagine that.

It’s a brave new world.
 

Categories
Digital Lifestyles Media

How To Hang A Picture

Picture this: The wall in your den or dining room just begs to display your extensive collection of movie posters, music memorabilia or family photos… but you don’t want your wall to look like an old pub’s dartboard by the time you’re satisfied with the layout.

1. Make measurements of your wall, making note of any details such as switches, receptacle covers, and molding.

2. Transfer your wall’s dimensions to the floor, using strips of masking tape.

3. Arrange your framed pieces on the floor, making sure not to overlap any taped areas. This is where you see the beauty of this process, because the items can be moved, swapped or adjusted without having to drill over and over into your wall.

Once you’re happy with the layout of the frames, measure each frame’s orientation from its surrounding tape lines.

4. Now it’s time to move the art to the wall. Starting at the top of the wall, transfer measurements for each frame’s hanger from the tape lines on the floor.

5. Finally, to make sure each frame is hanging straight, use a small level and adust the frame until the level’s bubble lies between its indicator lines.


 

Categories
Art Commentary Media The Write Stuff

Requiem for The Polaroid

The days of the in your face – no touch-up’s – crappy lighting – crappy paper – instant photograph have come to a close, as Polaroid ascends to the big darkroom in the sky.I could write about the history of Polaroid, but then you could Google it if you were really interested. And you should because it’s pretty good reading. Instead, today, I’m going to tell you the story of Amelia.

Amelia was just ten years old when I was a volunteer at the Bancroft School in Haddonfield NJ, a residential/boarding school facility for children and adolescents with mental and emotional disabilities. I was seventeen and working toward community service hours, spending Tuesdays and Thursdays at the facility after school. Amelia was there for lack of a better place to stash her because, while her parents had means, they had neither the time nor inclination to take proper care of a deaf child.

On my second Tuesday there, I was assigned to over-see the residential pod where the girls slept and hung out while not in school. There were perhaps fifteen girls to the pod, all of varying levels of disability ranging from proufound Autism to mild social adjustment disorder.

Amelia had neither. She simply couldn’t hear, and henceforth, had never learned to speak.
Having gone to sleep away camp, I’d learned how to sign the alphabet and I attempted to communicate with her as well as I could, spelling out entire words instead of proper signing with symbols and such. And being a 1970’s hippy, I carried a napsack instead of a purse and Amelia, like any pre-adolescent, was curiously curious about it’s contents and immediately wanted to see what I had inside. What was inside was a camera- A Polaroid One Step.  The picture would come out and develop right there in front of your eyes.

I took her picture and let her watch it come to life. Mesmerized, Amelia had never seen such a thing and I must admit, I thought it was pretty cool too.

I handed her the camera and let her shoot. Her first shot was of the ceiling of the dorm. Having no idea why she would shoot a picture of the ceiling, I let her continue, figuring that she was having fun and who really cared what she was shooting. The next was of the corner of the hallway near the bathroom door. Then more. I reloaded the film and let her have at it. There were probably ten to twelve photos in all, not counting the ones that were blurry.

I took the photos and placed them on her bed, one next to the other, and we looked at them. Touching them ever so gently with her fingertips, she held them up to me and smiled, pointing to the places in the photo she wanted me to notice. I focus in, then, I see it. Little black spots in the ceiling that look like a constellation. She shows me a book she has under her pillow. It’s a book of planets and stars. She opens it to the page of constellations and shows me Orion’s Belt. It looked just like the pattern of the little black stains on the ceiling of her dorm room. She points out the photo of the wall near the floor by the bathroom door. There are scratch marks. Many of them. I come to learn later it is in this corner they sit for time out.

Each photo, a story in it’s own right. There was the photo of the empty bed, the bed of a girl who went away. Story was she had a seizure and choaked on some food and that was it, but they just told the kids she went away. The kids knew better though. Even the ones you couldn’t really reach.

She picked up two of blurry photos and held one in each of her hands. Stretching out her arms like the wings on an airplane, she began to spin around and around. She spun for a few moments and then flopped on her bed and laughed a deep, gutteral laugh. She signs to me the letters for DIZZY, and points to the blurry photos. I come to realize that the blurry photos are how she feels when she spins. I get it. I nod and sign YES, and smile. She smiles, takes my hand, and shows me the proper sign for I Love You.

A photograph. A connection. A link between two people in diametrically opposite worlds.

I leave my camera with Amelia and bring her some more film the next time I come by. After a few weeks I am transfered to a different pod and then school is over and that is that.
I don’t see Amelia again.

Then, In 1994 I receive an email. She’d found me.

Some years after I’d left, during a showing of some of the Bancroft student’s art for a fundraiser, a few of Amelia’s photos caught the eye of a teacher from the Moore College of Art, who, after some string pulling, arranged a grant for Amelia to attend some classes on campus. It was there she met a student professor who, as it turns out, had been raised by a hearing impared single mother. They date for five years and in 1988, are married in a small ceremony behind the Philly art museum, overlooking the Schuylkill River and a backdrop of vintage boat houses.

Today, Amelia teaches hearing impared children in a small town in Maine and helps her husband (the student professor) with his photography business on the weekends. They have two adopted sons, both hearing impared, and one biological daughter with no hearing disability. The family is happy and thriving.

It is with a heavy heart that I have come to accept Polaroid’s imminent demise, but in the words of Bob Dylan, ‘The Times They Are A Changin’. And while we can’t interfere with progress, I take this moment to raise my glass and bow my head to Polaroid and it’s legacy – for it has done far more than just capture moments, it has in many respects, set spirits free.

Namaste, Polaroid. Gone but not forgotten.

Categories
Art Commentary Media The Write Stuff

Power To The Poster

Nobody in their right mind becomes an artist for purpose of making a sensible living. And most artists will tell you that one doesn’t become an artist, an artist is born and merely polishes his or her skills and knowledge over the years in hopes of people noticing what they do. Garnering a following is a notch better and causing conversation and intelligent debate, two notches. Dead presidents are the cherry on the pallet.
 

Introducing Power to the Poster, a somewhat user generated yet creatively moderated site that offers free downloads of powerful, culturally important, high quality art and graphic posters for you to print out and use and share for free.
 
There are artists who would shudder at the thought of giving away their work, saying it cheapens the importance and is a waste of their time. And there are artists who use their work as a form of political protest, and what better way to protest than to go against the grain and give your message away for all to see, hear and feel? Art doesn’t become important until someone other than your parents, significant other, or aunt Petunia want more of it. It’s one of the reasons many historical artists didn’t get famous until they were mealworm. The ability to disseminate one’s work was limited. As social and technical civilization evolved, more people were able to get their work noticed. The country opened up as did the world, by ship, car, and aviation, and because it’s in our nature to seek. And now there is the almighty internet. A massive labyrinth of galleries of artists all around the world if you’re so inclined. Today, if you’re an artist, there is no excuse for obscurity. And if your agenda is about reaching an audience with a message, evoking someone’s spirit to speak or their ego to listen, then go check out Power to the Poster.


 
My husband, who went to art school in upstate NY but who opted for the mortgage, the car payment, the orthodontist and college tuition bills in lieu of his true passion, counseled our eleven year old son recently when he informed us that he wanted to be an actor and be really rich and famous like Josh and Drake.
 
"A true artist is one who does it for the love of the art, whether or not he is able to make a living at it. The actor will act in the village square, the musician will play on the steps of the library if need be, and the painter will paint until his pallet runs dry, but never will they deny their passion. Do you understand?"
 
To wit our son answered "Yep. So, you’re saying I should come up with a plan B?"

For more information, visit powertotheposter.org

Categories
Gadgets Media The Not-So-Daily Edition The Write Stuff

Simplicity In A Box

Last year, I asked my husband for a radio for Christmas. Something for my kitchen counter. Something that would allow me to listen to NPR while I cooked. Nothing fancy, I didn’t even really want anything digital, as I grew up in the day of the radio dial. I’ll even go so far as to admit that in my preteen years, all the cool stations were still on AM.

In recent years, I had a boombox, one that had a CD player on the top and looked like a WMD with an antenna. Big and oblong and obnoxious with a handle, should I want to take it with me to the mall. Over time however my kids had borrowed it and eventually, it went the way of all things that kids borrow, to the beach, perhaps a few tailgate parties and then to hell.

I wasn’t upset over the loss of the box, but rather that I was then relegated to watching re-runs of "My House Is Worth What?" on mute, just for something to keep me company while I was cooking dinner. It didn’t take me long however to decide exactly what it was that I wanted.

A little radio with a little dial. Done. Nothing fancy schmancy with digital displays and flashing lights and shuffle and search and seizure, and a million buttons that I have no idea what they do and that I can’t see anyway. Just a radio. Is that so difficult? I have an IPod, I have a computer, I have a car with a radio and a CD/cassette player. We have Wiis, TVs, MP3s and DVDs enough to choke a horse.

And just when I thought things would never be the same again, he came through. A little radio in a handmade wood cabinet, with nothing but one little speaker and a dial, and a little light to tell you if you’re tuned in properly. That’s it. Pure and simple. Oh, and I might add, killer sound. The Model One AM/FM table radio by Henry Kloss for Tivoli Audio is touted by MSNBC as "the best sounding table radio ever made." We got ours at Target. From their collection of nostalgic goods. Nostalgia is a great trendsetter.

These days, I find that even if I have nothing to cook, I sit in the kitchen and listen – sometimes, it’s all about listening.

Categories
Digital Lifestyles Media The Write Stuff

Virtual Prostitute Wrecks Marriage

Considering all the recent news about people getting in trouble for virtual crimes committed while playing online games involving virtual people, virtual places and virtual things, it seems to me that there is probably a valid and tangible market for a virtual legal profession.

In a recent divorce case involving a British couple and the internet game Second Life, his avatar was found cheating on her avatar with a virtual prostitute. Suspicious, her avatar hired a virtual investigator who slithered and sleuthed his way through the game and found the rat bastard (er, avatar) dead to rights. (not to be confused with dead dead, as in the murdered Japanese avatar in Maple Story, where the avatar’s killer and virtual wife was hauled off to jail in real life.)

In the Second Life case, not only did she dump his sorry boo-tay in the game but also in real life, as they were in fact, married to each other. Oh to be a fly on the wall in that divorce courtroom. "Well your honor, you see, his avatar cheated on me with an avatar whore (would that be a whorevatar?) and who knows WHAT kind of VIRUS he could have given me!!"

The money and time spent in the virtual gaming world is astounding. Because of the state of the world economy, more people are choosing to stay home rather than go out. Twenty dollars a month for a life in a virtual world is a helluva lot cheaper than dinner for two on a Saturday night, not to mention that you can make your avatar look like yourself only with larger breasts or perhaps, hung like a racehorse. Who needs a plastic surgeon? I have an avatar and I’m not afraid to use it!

The potential for a virtual legal system where you would elect virtual judges, hire virtual lawyers and conduct legal proceedings in a virtual courtroom is enormous. I’m pretty sure that if nobody has thought of it yet they will soon because hey, if there’s a whore to be screwed, there’s money to be made.

As for the British couple, sad yes, but as luck would have it, we hear she has moved on to a new lover from World of Warcraft. I hope she’s careful. That game involves sharp objects.