January 25, 2022

Who Could Want This?

The Digi Swap website. There's a video near the top of that page. Just watch it.

The idea is you take your old film SLR, remove its back, attach a chunk of machined aluminum that Digi Swap sells you, and to that machined aluminum thing you attach your iPhone on which you have installed the Digi Swap app. You set the ISO on the iPhone, but shutter speed and aperture are controlled on the SLR. You press the shutter release on the SLR to take a photo. Just to be perverse, I suppose, you then have to use the SLR's film advance lever before you can take another photo. Most of my film SLRs have automatic film advance, so I guess I'm just never going to get to enjoy all the wondrous benefits of this device, none of which I can think of right now.

It's not available for sale yet. There is no price estimate. I imagine the machined aluminum device will have to be customized to fit different SLRs. They say they are developing devices to fit medium format cameras as well as 35mm. They don't mention Android, so they may not be planning to expand beyond iPhones.

In a world where all film production ceased and all digital interchangeable lens cameras disappeared, you would still only need this device if you wanted to use some lenses that just couldn't be digitally faked on an iPhone. Extreme telephoto or wide-angle lenses come to mind, but maybe there are others.

Here's a brief article about it (with reader comments) on DPRview.com.

Digi Swap will be at the Camera and Photo Imaging Show 2022 (CP+) in Japan, if you want to see a demo, February 24 - 27.

permalink | January 25, 2022 at 07:49 PM | Comments (0)

December 21, 2021

Fiber Lithium Battery

MIT Researchers "have developed a rechargeable lithium-ion battery in the form of an ultra-long fiber that could be woven into fabrics." As proof of concept they have produced one fiber battery that is 140 meters long and only a few hundred microns thick. "[T]he material can also be used in 3D printing or custom-shape systems to create solid objects, such as casings that could provide both the structure of a device and its power source."

permalink | December 21, 2021 at 06:32 PM | Comments (0)

October 26, 2021

A Segway For Our Time?

It seems this is real, not CGI.

Honestly, the top question in my mind is did they negotiate with Hanna-Barabera (now part of Warner) for the rights to use the name "Jetson?"

It's a Swedish company and manufacturing for sales to consumers will begin in 2022. They plan to make a dozen of them in 2022.

A complete vehicle is 92 000 USD and is delivered to you as a partially (50%) assembled kit for home completion. It contains everything you need, from the aluminium space frame to motor controllers, propellers and motors. You will also receive detailed build instructions.

If you want to have your own Jetson ONE, please contact us for purchase. 22 000 USD deposit to reserve a build slot. We plan to have twelve build slots for autumn 2022, with production starting during the summer of 2022.

All twelve of those have already been sold. The first two purchasers were from San Francisco, so I like to imagine a couple of wealthy gay men who plan to make quite the entrance at some grand soiree. There are two other buyers who live elsewhere in California. We could almost have traffic.

They say it can fly safely on only three motors. It includes a "ballistic parachute." Net weight is only 190 pounds! Pilot weight is limited to 210 pounds. I imagine that's real weight with gear and everything. Max air time of 20 minutes. They don't provide an estimate of how long it takes to charge up the battery.

permalink | October 26, 2021 at 07:47 PM | Comments (0)

October 20, 2021

Clark County Okays Tesla Tunnels For Las Vegas Strip

Clark county, Nevada, Commissioners, approved a 50-year franchise agreement with Boring Company to build an underground Tesla taxi system. "Boring’s plan calls for a mostly underground system operating mainly in the Resort Corridor with stations at various resorts and connections to Allegiant Stadium and UNLV." The airport, too? The article doesn't mention access to the airport. Maybe that would require renegotiating contracts with some unions and businesses first.

The best news about this tunnel plan is that the taxpayers are not paying for it. Boring Company will foot the bill. Hotels and resorts along the route that want to connect to the system will pay. Also, of course, passengers in the system will pay. Ultimately, fifty-one stations are planned. Boring Company must also get a similar agreement from the City of Las Vegas for the part of the route within city limits.

To make this succeed they are going to have to get it used in an adventure movie chase scene; a classy high budget film, like a Bond movie.

permalink | October 20, 2021 at 08:20 PM | Comments (0)

October 19, 2021

Fisher-Price Chatter Telephone Gets Real

Chatter Telephone with Bluetooth
For $60 at Best Buy you can get this Fisher-Price Chatter telephone that actually works
. "Actually works" in the sense that it will connect via Bluetooth to your smartphone and you can use the rotary dial to make real phone calls and use the handset to talk and listen to a real person on the other end of the line. You can switch it into speakerphone mode, too. It comes with a rechargeable battery, but there's no word on battery life or whether the battery is replaceable.

permalink | October 19, 2021 at 01:13 PM | Comments (0)

September 23, 2021

3D Printing Chicken With Frickin' Lasers

The cutting edge in the food extrusion industry right now is crafting real chicken breast meat into some kind of shape using lasers that can also cook 'it.'

The laser-cooked chicken retained twice as much moisture as conventionally cooked chicken, and it shrank half as much while still retaining similar flavors. But different types of lasers produced different results. The blue laser proved ideal for cooking the chicken internally, beneath the surface, while the infrared lasers were better at surface-level browning and broiling. As for the chicken in plastic packaging, the blue laser did achieve slight browning, but the near-infrared laser was more efficient at browning the chicken through the packaging. The team was even able to brown the surface of the packaged chicken in a pattern reminiscent of grill marks.

I'm looking forward to the art project that scales this up to a size suitable to appear on the playa at Burning Man.

permalink | September 23, 2021 at 09:22 PM | Comments (0)

September 3, 2021

Radically New Design For Wind Turbines

Instead of the design we know so well, the new design uses many smaller blades mounted in a grid that could be a thousand feet high. It would be able to catch the stronger winds at that higher elevation; it could be more easily repaired and recycled; the blades would be only 50 feet long and made of aluminum.

permalink | September 3, 2021 at 07:53 PM | Comments (0)

June 25, 2021

Apple Tower Theatre Opening

Yesterday the Apple Store in the Tower Theatre (first in L.A. to be wired for talkies, hosted sneak preview of The Jazz Singer, first in L.A. to be air conditioned, 1927) in downtown Los Angeles opened. The building had been sitting unused since 1988. This certainly seemed like a worthy event to travel to. I've wanted to see the interior of this theater for years, I'd never been to an Apple Store opening, and this one promised to be a bit more than the opening on El Paseo in La Quinta. So I got up early and drove to Rialto to get Metrolink. This is the first time I've tried parking at Rialto and it was totally fine. The parking lots were about three-quarters empty. And, it's not San Bernardino. Metrolink is still requiring masks for everyone on their trains (and even platforms), but they appear to permit eating and drinking on board?!

Union Station is looking pretty nice. I took some shots on film and continued shooting film as I walked to the Apple Store. I got there about 10:30 and the line to enter was not long at all and moved very quickly. They actually did the applause thing as our bunch walked in. And then I switched to my digital camera, because I just wanted to shoot a lot of photos under a wide variety of lighting situations. So I just walked everywhere and took pictures of everything. It was easy to spot Tim Cook - it was like finding the queen bee in a hive. Just look for all the congestion and wiggling abdomens.

Once I felt I had seen and photographed everything, I switched back to my film camera and walked around taking more photos. There's a chance I may have gotten an okay shot of Tim Cook on film...but I'm finding my film predictions are often wildly wrong.

Here's a nice, short article about the store.

Walked back to Union Station, made the train with like five minutes to spare, got to Rialto and the truck was fine and even in the shade!

The complete set of photos (so far) from Apple Tower Theatre is here. And here are some of them:

Apple Tower Theatre Grand Opening (2188)
Apple Tower Theatre shot with my iPhone
.

Apple Tower Theatre Grand Opening (2190)
A look down at Tim Cook from the balcony
.

Apple Tower Theatre Grand Opening (6520)

Apple Tower Theatre Grand Opening (6498)

Apple Tower Theatre Grand Opening (6492)

Apple Tower Theatre Grand Opening (6468)
They restored the drinking fountains, and they work
.

Apple Tower Theatre Grand Opening (6454)
Part of the ceiling over a balcony that overlooks the entrance lobby.

Apple Tower Theatre Grand Opening (6459)
The loftier parts of the entrance lobby
.

Apple Tower Theatre Grand Opening (6429)
I can't imagine the theater actually had windows along 8th Street
, unless they were just for display cases where they'd put their movie posters. These are hinged, but I don't think you'll find them standing open while the store is operating.

Apple Tower Theatre Grand Opening (6424)
THe proscenium
.

Apple Tower Theatre Grand Opening (6410)
The big, main false skylight
. There's another, smaller one over the balcony, mostly obscured in this shot.

Apple Tower Theatre Grand Opening (6379)

permalink | June 25, 2021 at 09:02 PM | Comments (0)

June 6, 2021

Sony Picturephone From 1988


It could send low resolution, black and white still images over regular phone lines.

permalink | June 6, 2021 at 08:48 PM | Comments (0)

May 27, 2021

Ordinary Humans Allowed Into Elon Musk's Las Vegas Tunnels


They don't actually get into a tunnel until past the 11-minute mark.

Story.

permalink | May 27, 2021 at 08:29 PM | Comments (0)

November 29, 2020

Aerochrome

This is the first I've heard of this film.

permalink | November 29, 2020 at 01:30 PM | Comments (0)

November 14, 2018

Mac Mini with 4K

I can now watch 4K videos with ease. I've got a couple of cameras that can shoot in 4K, and earlier this year I bought a 4K monitor. I could plug a 4K camera directly into the monitor to watch real 4K, but I couldn't watch 4K videos from any other source in 4K because my old Mac Mini (2012 model) could do no better than 1080. But finally, last month Tim Cook announced the new Mac Mini, greatly enhanced and with the ability to handle 4K.

Here's a test video I used: Driving Downtown - Los Angeles 4K - USA. 4K videos of Oahu, or aerial flights over Paris are quite lovely. But to judge the technical abilities of my hardware, I need to look at something familiar. Three hours of downtown Los Angeles in 4K...on a Sunday, so the traffic is unusually light.

For the new Mac Mini I went with the "3.2GHz 6‑core 8th‑generation Intel Core i7 (Turbo Boost up to 4.6GHz)." On all previous models of Macs that I've owned, I've maxed out the RAM, but the max on the new Mini is 64GB! That would cost an additional $1,400. I don't think I've had a computer before that could hold more than 16GB, so I decided I could probably live with 32GB of RAM on this one. And I got the 1TB SSD drive.

The 4K is beautiful and realistic.

permalink | November 14, 2018 at 06:02 PM | Comments (2)

October 15, 2018

Wende Museum Of The Cold War

I recently visited the Wende Museum of the Cold War in Culver City, which had been on my gotta-see list for quite a while. Open to the public Friday, Saturday and Sunday; no charge for admission; check the website for variations on that. It's right next door to Veterans Memorial Park which is right next door to Veterans Memorial Auditorium.

City of Culver City (4838)

On the other end of the museum sits the House of Warrior Poetry (Dance. Parkour. Acrobatics. Action Arts. Yoga. Movement.).
House of Warrior Poetry (4829)

Veterans Memorial Auditorium - Culver City (4836)
Veterans Memorial Auditorium - the marker out front was placed in 1950, so call it 1950.

Kimmy Schmidt Fashion (4850)
In the museum I thought the cover of this magazine said "1961."
Only when I went to edit it did I see it was actually 1981! It sure has the look of 1961.

Yuri Gagarin (4862)
Yuri Gagarin hanging out with kids.

Wende Museum of the Cold War (4874)
Sly Lenin.

Entertainment Center (4877)
Soviet radio.

You can see all the photos here.

permalink | October 15, 2018 at 11:12 PM | Comments (0)

September 11, 2018

Supersonic Passenger Aircraft

Aerion Corp. of Reno is developing a supersonic airplane that could carry 12 passengers. Their intent is to develop a plane that would not require any change in regulations in order to fly legally. The plane would fly at just below the speed of sound over land, so there would be no sonic boom, with speed increasing to Mach 1.6 over water, but they say it will be able to fly at Mach 1.2 without generating a sonic boom. Target price is $120 million. Twenty-three jets have already been sold at that price. The first flight is planned for 2023.

permalink | September 11, 2018 at 10:10 AM | Comments (0)

February 9, 2018

Weird Product Of The Day

permalink | February 9, 2018 at 06:54 PM | Comments (0)

February 1, 2018

Lost Satellite Found

IMAGE was a satellite launched in 2000 that suddenly stoped broadcasting in 2005. NASA declared it dead after 2007. They had waited that long to see if the batteries would drain which would trigger a reset that might make everything right again.

Then in January 2018, amateur radio astronomer Scott Tilley quite accidentally found IMAGE happily broadcasting away. They think the battery-drain-triggered reset happened sometime later than 2007.

permalink | February 1, 2018 at 10:45 AM | Comments (0)

January 28, 2018

Fitness Trackers

Here’s the news story about Strava posting a “global heat map” of fitness tracker usage. The news concerns what it reveals about military bases, but I looked at the Strava heat map to see if it told me anything about Desert Hot Springs.
Strava Heatmap Desert Hot Springs

It seems to me that someone (or ones) in Mission Lakes Country Club are doing a lot of exercising. Some of the more heavily used routes around DHS are where cyclists ride, including the upcoming Tour De Palm Springs.

Strava global heat map.

permalink | January 28, 2018 at 03:40 PM | Comments (0)

January 14, 2018

CES 2018

Complaint (4267)
This was supposed to be a display of a heavy lifting drone
, but instead they had to complain about the help.

HP AMP (4367)
I want to know what is the innovative advantage to having these features combined in one machine?
IOW, why put speakers on a scanner/printer? Here's the description from the display:

HP AMP is the first printer designed to enable seamless print and scan functions plus the ability to stream audio directly from a smartphone or tablet. The custom HP speakers with clear voice and exceptional 360° sound are backed by world class technology and HP's leadership in the print industry.

Foreo Exhibit (4398)
This exhibit showed some Burning Man influence, IMO
. The real warning signs about what we are supposed to realize is fictional. Or is it? Bit of a risk, maybe, with people coming from all over the world.

IBM Quantum Computer (1605)
IBM had this on display and said it is a quantum computer!
I certainly have no basis to doubt them. Until I saw this, I couldn't have said for sure if quantum computers actually existed as a physical reality or if they were still virtual while they worked out the details.

Las Vegas Monorail tracks at MGM Grand (4258)
Las Vegas Monorail tracks at MGM Grand
. This was my first time using the monorail. The train cars are pretty much the same as mass transit rail cars in any city, but I thought it was pretty interesting that in the city known for bright lights, flashiness and surprising architecture, the subway stations are very plain and functional looking. It's probably a good model for any city that wants to keep expenses down, but taxpayers seem to like beautiful train stations.

Mercedes at CES (4304)

Nagra HD Preamp (4358)
The description of this preamp from Nagra doesn't give me any clue why it got an innovation award
:

High End Audio preamplifier Designed to complement our flagship line of products called HD, for high definition. The Nagra HD PREAMP offers outstanding performance in terms of specifications as well as listening pleasure.

Sounds like more of the incremental improvement in audio that's been going on since Edison recorded "Mary Had A Little Lamb."

Nvidia VW Bus (4316)
I've no clue why this VW Bus was at the Nvidia exhibit
. It was after 6 PM when I saw it, and the convention was technically closed for the day, so no Nvidia people were around to clue us in.

OLED TV For Art (4277)
I really like these things
, but ya know what's got to happen? Cropping. The display looks like the relatively standard 16:9 aspect ratio, and not every master through the ages made paintings to that exact ratio. You will be given the choice of cropping or letter boxing, and I am sure most people will crop because it just looks neater. Below, for example, is the Mona Lisa cropped to a 16:9 ratio. I made a guess as to where Leonardo would have chopped off her elbows to do this.
Cropped Mona Lisa

Oh no, it just occurred to me that a lot of people will do the same thing they do with their TVs: ignore the aspect ratio and cram the whole image into 16:9 regardless. Below is the Mona Lisa abused like that:
Stretched Mona Lisa

Panasonic Radio (4295)
An early Matsushita radio
that was part of an exhibit of the history of Matsushita/Panasonic.

Polaroid Exhibit at CES (1598)

Rem-Fit Be Better In Bed (4410)
Part of the Rem-Fit Be Better In Bed exhibit
.

Sitael S.p.A. (4326)
"Magnetic Assisted Tap" is what they call this electric bike which won an innovation award
.

MAT connects online-bike and smartphone wirelessly. Its unique magnetic technology provides total vehicle control in one gesture. Edquipped with lock, security cable and handlebar remote control, MAT recognizes the user, disables the GPS anti-theft and enhances the riding experience.

Smacircle S1 (4322)
Smarcircle S1 folding electric bike, an innovation award winner
.

Smarcircle S1, the world's most compact and lightweight ebike. Weighing only 15.4 lbs, carbon fiber S1 can be folded in five simple steps into a small backpack and carried wherever and whenever. Feature-rich with iOS and Android apps, SMarcircle S1 is ideal for the connected commuter.

I thought it was a little odd that through all of CES in these sort of public descriptions of anything, they used imperial measurements, even though you know every single thing at CES has metric dimensions and every single attendee understands the metric system. Are they that concerned that some American (or Liberian or Burmese) yokel will wander in and be confused?

Oh my, I didn't know the term had been changed to "United States customary units," seemingly absolving the British Empire of blame.

Wi Surf (4343)
The Wi Surf (innovation award winner), which I found interesting for its plain exterior coupled with high claims
:

Wi Surf (Wireless Surface) is the world's first customizable and wireless modular induction charger and power supply station. It allows users to supply any device with direct current up to 60 W (per unit) and to remove 90% of cables and chargers from house, office and workshop.

Emphasis added by me. The percentage of cables I have that serve power is way blow 50%. So if this thing can get rid of 100% of chargers, how many cables does it need also to get rid of in order to make that 90% claim accurate, considering that everyone has way more cables than chargers?

Byton Dashboard Display (4313)
The dashboard display in a Byton
, which is a Chinese knock-off of a Tesla. I think that down lower, mostly out of sight are some elements of a classic, physical dashboard. There's got to be some place for an interface within easy reach of the driver. I don't think they're relying solely on voice commands.

Bluetooth Fanny Pack (4389)
A fuzzy fanny pack with stereo Bluetooth speakers
. This is aimed right at the sissy teenyboppers (of any gender) of the world. If they had shown one in pink...

Belkin Exhibit at CES (1589)
This was at an exhibit for what looked to me like a very capital intensive system of products to detect leaks, assure cleanliness, and avoid waste of water in a residence or business
.

Cubic Grid of Lights
This is a video.

Sony Display at CES
The huge display at the Sony exhibit
. It's a video, so click on it.

My complete set of photos from CES can be seen here.

permalink | January 14, 2018 at 11:02 AM | Comments (0)

January 12, 2018

The IBM Watson Exhibit at CES


via GIPHY

permalink | January 12, 2018 at 06:14 PM | Comments (0)

January 11, 2018

Seen at CES

I'm just back from two days at CES in Las Vegas and here's a video of one little thing I saw. This costume would, I believe, be acceptable at Burning Man, but wouldn't draw a crowd.

BTW, this company (Hisense) was displaying a 150-inch dual laser TV (in a darkened room) that was just stunning. Supposed to be easier on the eye because the laser light is reflected to your eyes rather than beamed directly as an LED screen (for example) would. Won't be on the market until later this year. They wouldn't estimate a price other than to say it will be more expensive than their 100-inch single laser display. That one goes for $30,000.

permalink | January 11, 2018 at 11:04 PM | Comments (0)