Sony is at the forefront of mobile photography innovation


One year ago I tweeted:

“If you haven’t been paying attention, the consumer camera space is erupting right now. Phone cameras lit a fire under the incumbents.”

That was before Sony released the critically acclaimed RX100 (and it’s follow up, the RX100M2). Sony has been pushing extremely hard in this space, releasing innovative and exciting cameras to consumers, while doing great things with glass and image quality at these reduced sizes.

These Sony “QX” Lens cameras may seem gimmicky, but they’re the first step into yet more uncharted territory, forcing the whole space to innovate faster.

$450 does seem pricey for what, at a glance, looks like just a bluetooth lens – but the 1-inch 20.2-megapixel Exmor R sensor and a f/1.8-4.9 Carl Zeiss lens make it the hardware equivalent of an RX100M2, generally accepted as the best point-and-shoot in the world.

These QX lenses may not be a commercial success, but the future of mobile photography is looking pretty amazing.

Update: The Verge went hands-on:

This FUD is Affecting Me


From John “FUD” Gruber a few days ago:

U.S. Government Report: 0.7 Percent of Mobile Malware Affects iOS; Android Accounts for 79 Percent.

I guess open does beat closed.

Excellent use of subtle FUD there, followed up, of course, by the snarky comment. Something I’ve learned on the internet: follow the source. Let’s click through and take a look at the article.

A cautionary memo put out by the US Department of Homeland Security and the US Department of Justice shows that, according to the government’s findings, only 0.7 percent of all mobile malware is designed to take advantage of iOS. This figure is in stark contrast to the Android OS, which the memo reports accounts for 79 percent of mobile malware threats.

In addition to ranking both iOS and Android, the report shows that 19 percent of malware is designed to affect the Symbian OS, 0.3 percent for Windows Phone and 0.3 percent for BlackBerry.

(Emphasis added).

Screen Shot 2013-08-28 at 10.12.07 AMRight, so nothing actually “affected” there, these are just the 2012 statistics for the possible threats of known malware. Clicking through again, the original source mentions nothing of affected users either.

Curious that Gruber didn’t link to The Next Web’s article (credited in the piece), but I guess it’s harder to drop snarky remarks when accurate reporting doesn’t fit your world view.



Hobo Nickels


What’s a hobo nickel? I’m glad you asked!

“The hobo nickel is a sculptural art form involving the creative modification of small-denomination coins, essentially resulting in miniature bas reliefs. The nickel, because of its size, thickness, and relative softness, was a favoured coin for this purpose.” – Wikipedia

Hobo nickel Google image gallery
Hobo Nickel on Wikipedia

Via David Archer

Related #longread: Twilight Of The Hobos (Buzzfeed):

Minnesota Jim, meanwhile, seems a little confused by the proceedings. His victory seemed, at least in part, based on his age. At 83, he’s one of the few surviving bridgers — hoboes that rode on both steam- and diesel-powered trains during their time — and winning seemed to be a kind of lifetime achievement award. But he cautiously told the local paper that kids today shouldn’t ride the rails. “The trains show no mercy.”

Why Chromecast is a big deal


Last week Google surprised the tech punditry by announcing Chromecast, a $35 HDMI dongle that plugs into your TV and plays video that you queue to it from your phone or Chrome browser.

Currently the device has out-of-the-box support for YouTube, Netflix and Google Play – and though that’s it for native support (for now), it can also send any Chrome tab to your TV (which in itself is a pretty great feature) including the ability to fullscreen any video playing in the tab on your TV.

Streaming local files to your TV is in beta, but it looks like the SDK enables a pretty seamless experience streaming from devices to your TV, all making it potentially a legitimate competitor to the 3 year old – and three times more expensive – Apple TV.

Jeff Jarvis dropped some great first thoughts right after the announcement which are worth a read. His first point nails it:

“Simply put, I’ll end up watching more internet content because it’s so easy now.”

With one click to send any web content to the TV, and at only $35, this is a killer solution. But this also means something more.

TV Democratised

VHS. Tivo. Netflix. TV has been ripe for disruption for decades, and while slow but important inroads have been made in both distribution and time shifting, you’ve always needed the same appliances to get the actual content onto that big screen in your living room: bunny ears, a cable from the wall, set top boxes.

Cheap, powerful computing eventually democratised music recording and cheap, high-quality cameras eventually democratised video and film. Will the affordable, easy-to-use Chromecast democratise what screens on your TV every day?

YouTube has had an historic impact on the video landscape. Now, you can bypass not only the gatekeepers of content distribution, you can bypass the gate to the TV itself. Any creator, filmmaker, photographer, designer or artist can make that last leap from your laptop into your living room, and you better believe they think this is a huge opportunity.

In his excellent review, Nilay Patel mused on the limited native app support at launch:

“History suggests that counting on Google to convince content companies to add Chromecast support to their apps is a foolish bet.”

Forget the “content companies”. A much more interesting question is: how quickly will Chromecast support come from everyone else?


More on Chromecast:

The Verge review (and video)
Android Police review
MKBHD hands on (video)

(Not really) BREAKING NEWS

(Not really) BREAKING NEWS


Traditional news media has struggled to keep up with the real-time revolution of Twitter and other social media when it comes to breaking events. CCN’s botching of the live Boston Bombing coverage is well documented, and national TV news was nowhere to be seen during Wendy Davis’s filibustering of the controversial Texas abortion bill.

So it’s with a heavy dose of unintended irony that, with nearly 9 months advance notice with which to get organised, traditional media subjected us to repeated live crosses to the hospital where the #royalbaby would be born, with literally no news to deliver.

In case you missed that: traditional news media gave us continual, real-time updates of NO ACTUAL NEWS.

Last night a ticker ran across the bottom of my TV screen with:

Spokesperson: Things are progressing normally.

Prince Charles was shown on his way into the hospital with this exclusive quote:

“I have absolutely no information.”

No information? Don’t fucking report it then.

Image source