Tag: technology

I Ordered A New iPhone, and It’s Not The iPhone X

I Ordered A New iPhone, and It’s Not The iPhone X

It’s Friday, September 15th, and I’m excited!

Apple announced two fabulous new iPhones at their event the other day, the 8 being an upgrade from the 7, and the X being a completely new design. Many folks have been going nuts over the X, but not I.

The iPhone X is pretty… it’s very pretty… but it’s a little bit too different for me to be as excited. 

My biggest hesitation is the heavy dependence on facial recognition: I’m just not sold on it being the new standard in authentication, but I have an open mind. My mind is more open than my wallet, though. I’m looking forward to it’s execution, and seeing how it works as a mass-market thing. I know it’s the direction these things are going, so at some point I’ll be adopting it, but I’m not ready to do so just yet.

The camera improvements are impressive on the iPhone X…for the non-photographer. For those unaware, I’m a photographer. I won’t ever be taking a selfie in which I want to achieve lighting similar to that which I’d use external studio lighting for…using my phone. If I want to take a studio-type of picture, I’m going to use studio-type equipment. It’s nice and convenient to have that functionality, but it’s not the tool I’d choose for that particular shot. 

The price is also a factor as well… I’m not interested in paying that much more for something I’m not that excited about.

These are just my thoughts… It’s a nice phone, and I’m sure whatever follows it will be even better, but it’s not the right tool for me right now.  I’m looking forward to receiving my new iPhone 8 Plus in the coming weeks.

360-Degree Content – Apparently, it’s a thing!

360-Degree Content – Apparently, it’s a thing!

We love to shoot pictures and video with our phones or our favorite cameras, and these images can be anything from a captured moment at a family gathering, to a picturesque scene from an exotic island paradise. But…what about everything that’s outside of the field of view? Evidently, some folks have been crafting ways to capture images that don’t have a limited field of view. These images capture 360 degrees all around, and make the resultant file more of an immersive experience for the viewer.

As someone who sure does “love his gadgets”, I wanted to check this out and get in on the phenomenon… so, I started out my research by finding out what I need to do such a thing. Turns out there are a few cameras on the market that do this, ranging in price from a few hundred dollars all the way up to a few thousand. Since I didn’t want to break the bank on something so new, I went for the cost-effective alternative. I picked up an Insta360 Nano camera from Amazon and instantly started playing around with it.  I shot a little test video… nothing overly riveting, but if you watch below, you can actually pan around (either with your finger, or by moving your phone around if you’re watching on a mobile device) and feel like you’re right there in the car with my friend and I.

Since this format is still very new, playback isn’t fully supported on certain web browsers and devices. If you want a fully immersive experience, click here to visit the video directly (Use Google Chrome if on a desktop browser) or get to the video in the YouTube app on your mobile device to get the panning around experience.

What I mean by that, is while watching the video, you can pan your phone around and it will pan the video playback to give you that different vantage point; almost as if you’re using your phone as a portal to view the action of the video from different angles. Very cool!

The video quality isn’t super crystal clear, and I think that comes from the fact that it’s still an incredibly new technology,  and this was created to hit a price point more so than a certain level of quality.

Let’s not forget about pictures, though, because I think this is actually where this camera does a better job.  Here are a few 360 pictures that I shot, which you can manually pan around with your finger to get the full experience.



I intend to take some great pictures of my upcoming vacation and some other fun things around here and there.  Now, Periscope has granted the ability for users to broadcast in 360, so be sure to follow me on Periscope so you can be notified when I go live.

Thank You, Steve.

Thank You, Steve.

The greatest gift Steve Jobs left to all of us is the gift of camaraderie; he found a way through technology to impart upon us an opportunity to bond with one another.  This, the Apple culture, is his legacy, and it will live on through the company, the technology, and all of us for years to come.

Thank you for this wonderful gift, and for truly enriching our lives. You will be missed.

Country Music… Who knew?

Country Music… Who knew?

I love music, this is a given, but I may have found an untapped phenomenal resource for

really well-written songs

… Yes, country music. Probably country-pop more specifically, because I can’t say I’m jonesin’ for some twang right now, but I love a song with great lyrics and that is equally performed with the talent befitting a song of that caliber. Rascal Flatts delivers on that, and I’m in the process of funding a few cups of coffee for them while I’m writing this.

I started a new Pandora station the other day for Rascal Flatts specifically, and I’ve been marking just about all the songs that have come on as a result. Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, phenomenal stuff. I’m interested to check out John Rich’s stuff too, being a fan of The Apprentice and him having won he certainly deserves a listen since I liked the stuff he did sing here and there throughout that show.

If you’ve never used Pandora, you need to. It’s given me a great appreciation for music, even more than what I’ve had my entire life. At first it was funk, then dance music, now country-pop. Who knows what else I’ll find on there?

Ethics, or lack thereof.

Ethics, or lack thereof.

I need to vent about something that, frankly, I feel shouldn’t even be the problem that it is. It’s one of those situations that, if the people involved could step back and watch others in the same scenario, would agree that it’s nothing short of pathetic.

What am I talking about? Common courtesy and ethics. Where are they nowadays when it comes to interpersonal electronic contact? GONE.

I will not say that I am an exception to this, I freely admit that sometimes I fall short and don’t deliver, but I own up to it. I’ll never leave someone for days without some kind of response when they contact me. I always try to acknowledge the fact that someone took the time to reach out to me, and that I recognized that fact, even if I can’t respond right away, because it’s courteous.

I love text-messaging for some times, and I completely loathe it or the others. It’s great for quick on-the-go messages but it’s completely hideous for conversation. Even moreso it is terrible for communication, and makes it much to easy for messages to fall through the cracks. Tons of opportunities could go missing with texts being ignored, whether they are personal or professional. How hard is it to acknowledge a message, I mean seriously?

Even someone as busy as Donald Trump responds to a message when he gets one. Anything less would be lazy! Nobody can say they are too busy to answer a text!! Especially with practically everyone having some type of “smart phone” in their pocket with their e-mail and messages just a few taps away. There really is no excuse.

In one way, this heightened presence of on-the-go communication helps us see all of our true colors. Where do all of our priorities lie? Do we really care about those who go ignored? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

If this situation comes up with me, and I fail to respond or acknowledge you, I apologize wholeheartedly and invite you to call me out on it. I’ll gladly own up to it and do what I can to make it right. Maybe someone else might follow my example.

Automated Phone Systems Suck

Automated Phone Systems Suck

 

I could tell it’s been too long since I’ve somewhat-whimsically ranted about something, so here you all go. Today the topic is “Automated Phone Systems”…specifically the kind who answer phones and claim to be humans, but fail miserably because they still sound/behave like the computers they are.

These things seriously get on my nerves. I hate how they try to sound like they are human. They aren’t, and they never work the way they are intended to. Case in point, I called Sirius (Satellite Radio) today because my radio mysteriously told me that my service had been deactivated. I’ll rant about Sirius in another blog, they don’t have their act together at all. Everytime I call them they tell me something different about my account – I either owe them gobs of money, or my account isn’t due for renewal until x months from now… anyways, not the topic of today’s blog!

So I call up and hit option 3 (after the obligitory “if your spanish do this for español!”) and then this voice comes on, and immediately I recognized it as one of these whiz-bang wünderprograms and I was like “oh great.” It/She said to me, “I’d love to help you get some information on your account. You can start by giving me your phone number.” If only us guys could have some computer program use a line like that on someone at a bar, the problem of never getting laid would no longer be an issue for a lot of us. So I say my phone number in a somewhat natural tone, and it/she says “I’m sorry, I didnt’ quite understand that. Let me see if I have it right” (all the while using pronouns like “me” and “I”….again, human words! Computers aren’t human!!!) and it/she reads it back correctly. I confirmed it was right, and then I heard something even funnier. “Hmmm.. I can’t seem to find your record. Let’s look another way.” Yes, let’s! You and I will look together! Because that’s what the word “let’s” implies! One problem… you’re a computer and you’re going to search your data banks on your end for my errant information, while I sit here and play with myself waiting for you to come back and tell me you have no idea who I am or why I’m calling….which is exactly what happened. Then it/she said “Let me get a representative on the phone who can help us.” Us? What, are you going to be part of this conversation when the rep gets on the phone? How are “we” going to be helped by a human? I’m the one who’s going to be assisted, not you, Miss Failed-attempt-at-an-artifically-unintelligent-waste-of-hard-drive-space. Good LORD… Whatever happened to just having a human answer a phone and help you out with what you need?

Oh yeah, I know what happened…more and more of those things are being outsourced to random countries where you get Shlabba-labba-nabba-hibbi-jibbi who picks up the phone and says “Hello, this is Bob how can I help you” in some funny accent.

Bottom line, I hate those stupid things. Call centers need to live on! Down with the fake humanoid automated attendants on the phone. Us Americans need jobs, stick us in cubicles and put headsets on our head so we can avoid these fuckin’ things from ruining our lives!!!!!!!!

Be well.

~JB