Patent idea of the day…

December 29th, 2012

This is probably a very obvious thought to those who wear glasses more frequently than I do…

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could get rotationally-polarised contact lenses? Then contact-lens wearers could just walk into 3D movies and not have to wear low-quality plastic glasses like the rest of us. It would probably be a much better experience.

I remember my mother telling me about visiting an African orphanage for young blind children, a long time ago. The children asked her to go into the dormitory and read them a bedtime story. When she got there, however, it was pitch black. The children didn’t need any lights to get ready for bed, but there was no way she could read them anything. So, instead, they pulled out their braille books and read her stories, a role-reversal which delighted everybody.

Well, maybe those of you who have had to put up with various eyesight-enhancement technologies and found them to be a nuisance in the past will soon have an advantage over those of us who can’t get retina-projected Google maps so easily…

Thanks to Richard Watts for prompting the idea…

Reflecting

December 29th, 2012

Reflecting

I decided to try my hand at street photography today: I normally take too many photos of trees and dogs and not enough of people.

I’ll post a few of the results over the next few days, but you can see the whole lot here if wanted.

New toy, happy bunny

December 29th, 2012

Canon EOS 6DI got a new toy the other day. This is the Canon 6D, which is an interesting blend: it has a high-end full-frame sensor, but it also has a couple of features traditionally only found on less ‘serious’ cameras: wifi connectivity and GPS.

One of the first pictures I took with it was a self-portrait. I’m decadently reclining on the sofa with my laptop. What you can’t tell is that the laptop and the camera are connected by wifi, and I’m tapping the space-bar to take this photo.

Quentin Stafford-Fraser

Looking forward to getting to know it properly… but I’m very pleased with it so far.

There should be a word for that…

December 26th, 2012

Rose and I invented a new word this week. It’s a technical cycling term, so may not become widespread, but I think we may see rapid adoption of it in East Anglia and the Netherlands.

ishybutt (ˈɪʃibʌt) (also ishibutt)
noun the experience of sitting on a bicycle saddle, only to discover that it has been raining.

Hope you find it useful in daily conversation.

The aliens have landed

December 25th, 2012

Kelham Island Museum

This marvellous contraption, which I think comes somewhere between R2-D2 and H.G Wells’s Martian machines, is part of the exhibition of steelmaking equipment at Kelham Island Museum in Sheffield.

A note for any serious photographers amongst you: I captured this in very limited light at ISO 1600 on my Lumix GH2. I’m becoming increasingly fond of the micro-four-thirds system, but the sensor on this body, though generally very good, isn’t always at its best in low-light conditions when compared to recent DSLRs. I didn’t quite get what I wanted when processing this photo in Lightroom.

But after seeing a couple of references to it recently especially in the context of high-ISO images, I tried the free Rawker utility to do the initial RAW conversion, and was very pleased with the noticeable improvement. I saved it out as a TIFF and then imported that into Lightroom for final adjustment. I wouldn’t do this for all my photos – not least because the intermediate TIFF is 128 MB – but doing a side-by-side comparison with the one imported directly does show a noticeable improvement. This may be down to default settings more than the converter itself, but you might find Rawker worth investigating for important images.

LinkedIn foolishness

December 25th, 2012

John's been writing about the somewhat bizarre practice of LinkedIn 'endorsements', where you can affirm that an acquaintance really has the skills they say they have.

Well, frankly, I wouldn't, in the first place, link to anyone I thought was likely to lie on their CV. I'm old-fashioned enough to remember the days when a LinkedIn connection was meant to imply some sort of endorsement in itself.

Interestingly, you can also endorse people's expertise in skills they never knew they had. I never listed any on my LinkedIn page until some kind friend said I was awfully good at 'Architecture', which I assume they meant in the sense of 'computer systems architecture', but, who knows, perhaps they had seen my old garden shed modifications? Hoping for some interesting job offers from that one.

It is, of course, a brilliant marketing trick on LinkedIn's part. In a world where page hit numbers are everything, it's hard to imagine a better email campaign to make users feel obliged to come back to your site over and over again.

When it all started, I added 'LinkedIn Endorsing' to my list of skills, and a couple of friends have kindly endorsed my abilities in that area. So maybe, by way of bringing a little festive cheer, I should be endorsing their LinkedIn-endorsing-endorsing?

 

Oh, and Happy Christmas, everybody!

 

Virtually Absorbed

December 24th, 2012

Somebody at least in Cambridge today was not caught up in pre-Christmas shopping.

Or perhaps he was…

Quote of the day

December 23rd, 2012

If I had eight hours to chop down a tree,
I'd spend six sharpening my axe.

- Abraham Lincoln