Just text me, ok?
We’ve all heard that automated voice mail lady, telling us what to do after the beep. But fewer people than ever are leaving messages. And the millennials, they won’t even listen to them — they’d much rather receive a text or Facebook message.
So true. I really really hate voicemail.
Instagram’s new Hyperlapse app is amazing.
Basically, it stabilizes video as it shoots it (or soon thereafter) and allows you to play back at various speeds. It’s timelapse photography in super-smooth mode, or a replacement for a very expensive video stabilization rig.
The secret, according to a Wired profile, is that the app doesn’t try to stabilize with anything like the fancy (and very processor-intensive) software found in high-end video production software. Rather, it uses data from the iPhone’s built-in gyroscopes to simply adjust for movement.
My initial reaction to the app was (a) wonderment, and (b) hopefulness that the app would let me import media (like, um, from my GoPro?).
After reading the Wired article, it’s clear that the Hyperlapse app won’t work with imported material, since the whole point is that it records the gyroscopic data as it’s recording (and adjusts the video accordingly).
But what if…
For this to work, you need to be able to precisely (!) sync the gyroscope’s data with the video. For that reason, I’m wondering if the app might record audio, which the post-processing desktop app could use to sync the recorded data’s time with the footage. As you begin recording, it could even emit a beep or clapper sound or something similar that would be picked up by the video camera’s mic. (The desktop app could know to look for that precise sound.)
Or… we could sync even easier. Both my GoPro and my Canon 6D can be controlled by corresponding iPhone apps. What if the gyroscope data collection was simply built into those apps. Then, you could trigger recording on the camera direct from the phone and simultaneously begin recording the data needed for stabilization.
I have no idea what kind of patent that Instagram (err… Facebook) has on this tech. My point is that this one amazing innovation has the potential to be a big-time game changer, since all the other pieces already exist (or, in the case of the desktop app, should be doable by applying existing tech). With something like I described above, you could replace an expensive stabilization rig with an iPhone, a mounting bracket, and some simple (ish) software.
Lets say that for some reason you needed a SATA cable or two. Or six. You think to yourself, “I guess I should head down to the store,” or you mozy your online self over to Monoprice or Amazon or whatever.
Yeah. Don’t do that. I’m pretty sure I have twenty extras laying around. They’re angled and I needed straight, or I already bought some and hooked them up before opening up the mounting cage to find that it came with five, or they’re just attracted to me… I don’t know. Somehow I ended up with more SATA cables than any one person could use in a lifetime. And how did I end up with six or seven extra case fans in various sizes?
While I’m at it, I’m pretty sure I have dozens of HDMI, DVI, and DisplayPort cables. And USB (3.0 and 2.0) cables in the hundreds. And at least a couple extra Thunderbolt cables. Don’t even get me started on 4-pin Molex power cables.
Moral of the story: If you need any of this stuff, message/email/call/text. Most of it’s free to anyone who’ll give it a good home. (OK… I can’t give away the Thunderbolt cables for free. But the rest.) Think the cable/adapter/dongle you need is insanely obscure? I probably have six of them. Try me.
Found the above pic in Maurice Sendak’s strange counting book One Was Johnny.
What’s weird is that he looks an awful lot like Freddie (at right), the mascot for MailChimp.
This incarnation of Freddie has been around since 2008, but it seems he was born August 17, 2001. So the monkey in Sendak’s book has got to be a different mail-delivering primate. In case you’re unfamiliar, MailChimp does awesome email marketing (and email newsletters, and that kind of thing). It’s one of my favorite software-as-a-service companies. If you’re using ConstantContact, there are about a gazillion reasons to switch. (If that sounds scary, I can help.)
Anyway, I’ve decided that Sendak’s mail monkey must be Freddie’s dad, since it would make sense that he’d go into the family business.
Look at those two. They just gotta be related.
Today is Israel’s independence day, if you’re Gregorically inclined. That’s because Ben Gurion declared independence on May 14, 1948.
Of course, he declared on that day that the new country’s independence would be effective the following day, immediately following the termination of the British Mandate. So if you’re celebrating the declaration, today’s the day on the Gregorian calendar. If you’re celebrating independence itself, then I suppose you should hold off til tomorrow. Yom HaAtzma’ut, he official state holiday in Israel (and the corresponding holiday for Jews living elsewhere) is commemorated on the fifth day of Iyar, or on the sixth day of the month if it turns out that Yom HaAtzma’ut (or the day before it — Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day) would fall on Shabbat.
This year, Israel celebrated its own independence on Tuesday, May 6, which was the sixth day of the month of Iyar. Had they celebrated on the fifth, then Yom HaZikaron would have fallen on Shabbat. So they pushed em both up a day. How do I know all this? Well…
This just in from Google: You can now display Hebrew calendar dates (alongside the normal Gregorian headings) in Google Calendar on the web. To enable it:
Now, you should see Hebrew dates alongside the English ones in your calendar.
On some days I feel like I’m in awash in awesome online tools… I’ll discover one, and then it’ll lead me to another, and then another. Before I know it, I’ve signed up for twelve cool services that promise to make me more productive, creative, organized, inspired.1
I finally signed up for a kippt account today. Good timing.
This marks the end of the journey for us at Kippt. Although our service has been loved by many, we never achieved the growth and the scale that would allow a sustainable future for Kippt. Building personal knowledge online continues to be a unsolved problem. While we are switching directions, we hope that Kippt and Inc have contributed to the future of online collaboration and knowledge sharing.
To clarify, by “awesome,” I mean: clever, time-saving, fun-to-use, useful, innovative. (back to footnote in text)
As I watched my class struggle, I came to realize that conversational competence might be the single-most overlooked skill we fail to teach students. Kids spend hours each day engaging with ideas and one another through screens—but rarely do they have an opportunity to truly hone their interpersonal communication skills. Admittedly, teenage awkwardness and nerves play a role in difficult conversations. But students’ reliance on screens for communication is detracting—and distracting—from their engagement in real-time talk.
We’re really, really fucking this up.
But we can fix it, I swear. We just have to start telling each other the truth. Not the doublespeak bullshit of regulators and lobbyists, but the actual truth. Once we have the truth, we have the power — the power to demand better not only from our government, but from the companies that serve us as well. “This is a political fight,” says Craig Aaron, president of the advocacy group Free Press. “When the internet speaks with a unified voice politicians rip their hair out.”
We can do it. Let’s start.
Exposed to the entire spectrum of human enthusiasms, it’s basically impossible not to judge. Our empathy overloads and gives up and we sit, staring at the screen aghast, that somebody, somewhere might actually believe that what they’re doing is OK, is acceptable, is even appropriate.
Google’s decision to activate (and turn on by default) a “feature” that allows anyone to send you email via Google Plus has sparked some controversy.
The problem with the free email services most of us use is that virtually all of them are offered provided by companies whose main interests aren’t email. In other words, Google, Microsoft, and Apple all offer “free” email in order to get you into their ecosystems. Gmail exists so Google can sell your eyeballs to advertisers. Like all of Apple’s software, iCloud exists so Apple can control every aspect of an iOS or Mac user’s experience.1 Hotmail and Outlook.com (and whatever other crap Microsoft is doing these days) exist so that Microsoft can keep more people reliant on Office and Windows (and whatever other crap Microsoft is doing these days).
And that’s the thing: Their goal isn’t to create awesome email that meets users’ needs. Sure, insofar as creating awesome email helps get more people into their ecosystem, then I suppose creating an awesome email system is part of what they do. But don’t ever forget that they have a bigger goal in mind. When it comes right down to it, Google is obsessed with getting people into Google+, and they don’t even blink when prioritizing their needs (integration with their social network) over most users’ (the ability to receive messages only from those who’ve received my email address from me).2
We can bitch and complain all we want, but here’s the thing: As long as we use email that’s provided by someone who sees email as a means to achieving their own (non-email related) goals, then this is going to keep happening. That’s the cost of “free” email.
I want a service that provides email that’s clean, elegant, and easy-to-use. I want it to be private, secure, and safe. I want it to be standards-based, by which I mean I want it to work well with my existing devices and systems as well as with the ones that I don’t have or that don’t exist yet. And I want as much control as possible. I want control over my privacy settings, over the interface, over the implementation of new features, over… everything.
And for that, I’d gladly pay a few bucks a month. Or even ten.
Steve Jobs once said, “I’ve always wanted to own and control the primary technology in everything we do.” Over the years, Apple loosened up a little as Jobs and Co. realized that they could gain more by giving users a little bit more control. But it’s pretty clear that the brain trust in Cupertino is still pretty committed to the idea that the only way you can guarantee users a product that “just works” is to maintain as much control as possible over every aspect of both hardware and software (including cloud-based software and services). And since consumers seem to like products that “just work” (Lord knows I do), Apple makes a lot of money as a result of this formula. (back to footnote in text)
Marco Arment says it best:
Google’s leadership, threatened by the attention and advertising relevance of Facebook, is betting the company on Google+ at all costs.
Google+ adoption and usage is not meeting their expectations. Facebook continues to dominate. It’s not working. They’re desperate.
Google will continue to sell out and potentially ruin its other properties to juice Google+ usage. These efforts haven’t worked very well: they juice the numbers just enough that Google will keep doing this, yet will keep needing to do more.
I don’t like Google+ very much, and I have no interest in being dragged into using it. Gmail belongs to Google, and if Google wants to build Gmail and Google+ into each other, then that’s Google’s prerogative. And finding a new email provider is my prerogative. And honestly: As long as Google’s behavior doesn’t have a noticeable effect on how many people use Gmail (and/or how much they use it), then they have no reason to stop. (back to footnote in text)
Last night I got my invite to play with the new Google Maps (desktop edition).
All-in-all, it’s a step in the right direction.