Canon offers IS and Nikon offers VR – technologies that reduce picture blur when handholding a camera. There’s always been some debate about how well those systems worked, and the companies keep coming out with new versions that area supposed to be more effective, but there’s never been a standard for measuring effectiveness until now.
Nikon has published the results of their CIPA testing. Results range from a low of 2.5 stops to a high of 4.5 stops. 4.5 stops means that the image-stabilizing technology is as effective as increasing shutter speed by 4.5 stops. So a photo taken with VR at 1/60th of a second would be equivalent in sharpness to a photo taken without VR at 1/1500th of a second.
VR (and Canon IS) mean you can get a sharp picture using shutter speeds that are slow enough to get a good exposure in a broad range of lighting conditions. They also mean you can get the shutter speed down in the range where you can use a flash at full FP sync – typically 1/200 to 1/250th of a second.
P.S. VR/IS lenses are also great for handheld video. You shoot video at a shutterspeed of 1 over twice the frame rate – so 1/60th of a second for 30 fps video - so you can’t get sharp images by using a quick shutter speed.
“It is the height of naivete to think that once collected this information won’t be used. This is the nature of secret government organizations. The only way to protect the people’s privacy is not to allow the government to collect their information in the first place.”
– Wolfgang Schmidt
Too busy to blog much right now, so go visit Longnow.com. Lots of good seminars there on a variety of topics. The videos are subscriber-only, but the summaries are good and you can listen to the MP3 version under the Downloads tab.
I found it by way of an article about Richard Feynman’s involvement in Thinking Machines Corporation. (If you don’t know who Richard Feynman is, eat 10 packs of Ramen without the flavor clod, then find a copy or Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman or What Do You Care What Other People Think? He’s turning out to be one of the more relevant figures in 20th century science culture.
The stupid Maori people spent all their time building statues in a fit of vanity.
The stupid Maori cut down their forests for the logs needed to move the statues.
The stupid Maori spent the rest of their time and resources in intra-island warfare.
Stupid Maori were stupid.
Anthropologists Terry Hunt and Carl Lipo’s talk presents a different view:
There’s no archaeological evidence of inter-Maori warfare prior to European exploration. No fortifications. No battle-related injuries on skeletal remains. Their primitive stone implements had the blunt tips of tools instead of the pointed tips you would expect of weapons.
The Maori moved the statues with ropes, not logs, so deforestation had nothing to do with the statues. Their experiments seem to support this. Besides, how many freakin’ logs do you need to move some statues? Not enough to deforest an island. (Wikipedia notes that some suggest the Little Ice Age of 1650 to 1850 contributed to the decline of native trees.)
Based on carbon dating, Hunt and Lipo propose that Easter Island was colonized around 1200 AD, rather than other estimates which put the date as early as 300 AD.
They posit that the deforestation was caused by the introduction of rats from European ships – the rats ate the trees’ nuts. From a study quoted on Wikipedia: “Rat teeth marks can be observed in 99% of the nuts found preserved in caves or excavated in different sites, indicating that the Polynesian rat impeded the palm’s reproduction.”
The depopulation was largely a result of the resulting deforestation combined with diseases introduced by European explorers such as tuberculosis and smallpox, combined with later slaving raids from Peru on the island’s reduced population.
The apocryphal overpopulation to 30,000 inhabitants never happened. That makes sense – indigenous populations are unlikely to exceed their historical resources. It isn’t like they can ask their central bank to print money to buy food from another country.
True or fales, since Easter Island makes such a pat simple ecological ghost story I expect the old narrative to be defended to the last man standing.
Any time someone offers to improve my Google position I ignore them. It’s a waste of time talking to them. The email you received was canned. The SEO they offer is canned, likely hasn’t worked in five years, and may get you banned from Google’s index. Their money back guarantees are worthless (most of them are overseas – good luck pursuing remedies in court).
Folks at Google get cold-call emails out of the blue just like everybody else. Here’s an email that a colleague of mine got recently:
I was on your website www.google.com and wanted to shoot you a quick note. I think I can make a few changes (aesthetically and/or SEO – wise) to make your site convert more visitors into leads and to get it placed higher in the organic search results, for a few of the select terms.
So this person is offering help to convert Google visitors into leads. Or, you know, to improve Google’s rankings in organic search results. Sigh.
Here’s my rule of thumb: if someone sends you an email with an SEO offer out of the blue, be skeptical. For example, check out some other fun SEO emails that I’ve gotten in the past.
I love Craigslist. Good place to buy and sell locally. But I decided to shy away from ever giving anything away anything on Craigslist after reading this:
Family Loses Everything After Craigslist Post Gone Terribly, Horribly Wrong
Facing foreclosure on their home of 20 years, Pam Hobbs and her son lost even more when a yard sale posting on Craigslist gave people the impression that it wasn’t just the furniture in the driveway they were giving away for free. Folks were welcome to come into their home and take anything — and everything — they could get their hands on. Total. Chaos.
Terrible story. Even short of that, free stuff attracts people who can’t even afford the five dollar cover charge. A safer bet is to drop the stuff off at the nearest Goodwill or Habitat for Humanity.
Here’s something I like to do. Listen to different artists perform the same song. That side by side listening always reveals new things about the song and the artists. Seth Roberts likes to talk about the Willat Effect, where side by side comparisons help to make you a connoisseur.
Pearl Jam Live Electric and Eddie Vedder Solo Acoustic – I’ve always liked Pearl Jam, even though I haven’t thought of myself as a fan the way I did with Nirvana, but Eddie Vedder is growing tremendously as an artist. This ain’t the same guy who used to stand in front of the mic with his arms wrapped around himself. He’s learned to play guitar and he’s confident as hell. His soundtrack for “Into the Wild” is what finally made me a fan.
I’m all the time needing to paste text sans formatting. I’ve been using tricks like pasting into the browser’s search box and then copying and pasting that, or pasting into Notepad to clear the formatting.
Turns out you can use Control-Shift-V to paste text without formatting. I probably should have known that a long time ago, but better late than never.
Discovered (where else?) in a Cracked article. Their motto should be “Cracked – It’s like Wikipedia, but with even more penis jokes.”
I’ve watched Beck’s video for Loser dozens of times. In terms of production you can point to a dozen ways it’s a crappy video. (Color grading? What’s that?!) The whole thing was edited on an Amiga Video Toaster and shot on what looks like a budget of ten bucks.(*)
This is one of those videos I look at and think, sheeeit, I could do that. All you need is thriftstore clothes, a stray dog, fake blood, lots of lighter fluid, a homeless guy, and a cheerleader in a graveyard dancing with her friend who peed in her pants. I’d skip the mimes and the kung fu dude in the trailer park. The only challenges would be scoring a casket and not getting arrested.
And I’m not even criticizing the video. I like it. It’s inspirational – it shows me that something I like that’s within my grasp. In the digital age all of this creative stuff is way easier and way cheaper.
Well this is something. In this video you see a close-up of a guy’s mouth saying “ba ba ba.” Then they change the video to the guy mouthing “fa fa fa,” but you still hear the audio of “ba ba ba.” Your eyes trick you into hearing “fa fa fa” even though that isn’t what he’s saying. As soon as you look away from the video you’ll hear “ba ba ba.” It totally worked on me. Dang.
The McGurk effect is a perceptual phenomenon that demonstrates an interaction between hearing and vision in speech perception. The illusion occurs when the auditory component of one sound is paired with the visual component of another sound, leading to the perception of a third sound. The visual information a person gets from seeing a person speak changes the way they hear the sound. People who are used to watching dubbed movies may be among people who are not susceptible to the McGurk effect because they have, to some extent, learned to ignore the information they are getting from the mouths of the “speakers”. If a person is getting poor quality auditory information but good quality visual information, they may be more likely to experience the McGurk effect. Integration abilities for audio and visual information may also influence whether a person will experience the effect. People who are better at sensory integration have been shown to be more susceptible to the effect. Many people are affected differently by the McGurk effect based on many factors, brain damages or disorders.
Hat tip to the only peer-reviewed journal of funny, Cracked.
I’ve used the noise reduction in Adobe Lightroom and liked it, but I never realized how much it could do. I captured some freeze frames from a video I’m working on. It’s concert video and the lighting was dark, so I used ISO 2000 to get the video bright enough. I thought the pictures looked OK, but decided to clean them up a little in Lightroom.
I imported the .BMP freeze frames into Google Picasa, then exported them as JPGs. Those are the before pictures. I imported those JPGs into Lightroom and ran some basic image tuning (which is why the exposures are a little different) and then reduced the noise.
Click any picture to embiggen. The bigger they get the more obvious the difference is. The difference is also more obvious in the better-exposed areas, like the guitar and the shirt.
Before Noise Reduction in Lightroom
After Noise Reduction in Lightroom
Before Noise Reduction in Lightroom
After Noise Reduction in Lightroom
Before Noise Reduction in Lightroom
After Noise Reduction in Lightroom
I’m amazed enough that I’m shopping for noise reduction software for video editing.
P.S. I also realized I like the more-exposed (brighter) version, so I’ve increased the exposure in the video a bit.
Laurel Falls in the Smokies, during the camping trip to Elkmon to see the synchronized fireflies
At sibling class getting ready for little brother Charlie
This year you got a baby brother. At first you were too cool about it. Before he was born you called him eBaby and said you were going to sell him on eBay.
It took about four hours with a real live baby brother in the house for you to to change your tune and fall in love with him. Now you’re crazy about Charlie. You and your sister fight over who gets to play with him and you give him a kiss before you leave for school every morning. You act tough, kid, but you’re a big softy.
The Blue Car
Here’s a story I told you that you liked about the blue car. We were talking about how I’m going to buy another car next year and you asked how old the blue car is. I told you I’ve had the blue car since right before you were born and you’re the reason I have it.
Before the blue car I had another car, a black Toyota Camry. It had lots of problems for some reason, even though it was only three years old when I bought it. It had brake problems and radiator problems and windshield wiper problems. And then the biggie - it had engine problems. I paid the dealership $900 to get those problems fixed. Then a little while later – a month, I think – on Halloween night the engine blew up. It threw a rod into the block. The car was worth more running than not, so I paid $2,000 to get the engine replaced.
Then the next spring I realized the air conditioner had quit working. I drove it for another year with no air conditioning, because it’s expensive to replace a car’s air conditioner and I didn’t want to spend any more money on that car.
Your mother and I wanted to start a family and we were very happy when she got pregnant with you. She was going to be pregnant all summer long and have you in late September. Pregnant women get hot easily. We had to have a car with air conditioning for your mother, so I sold the black car and bought the blue car from your grandmother Dorothy. She had stopped driving a year or so before because she couldn’t see very well anymore.
The blue car is what we used to bring you home from the hospital when you were born. Then we used it to bring your sister Natalie home from the hospital. After she was born we decided we needed something bigger. In fact, on the way home from the hospital we drove through the parking lot of the Honda dealership near our house in Louisville to glance at the Honda Odyssey minivans.
Two weeks later we bought a brand new Honda Odyssey minivan for your mom to drive so I put her Honda Civic for sale on the classifieds. That Odyssey was Vanny. Six years later we used Vanny II to bring your brother Charlie home from the hospital. I kept the blue car to drive back and forth to work.
This is us bringing you home from Fort Sanders hospital. You and your mom are in the back seat. Flowers, a laptop computer, and a videocamera are in the front seat. The yellow house in the background is on Clinch Street in front of Fort Sanders Hospital, and may still be there when you read this decades from now.
You liked that story when I told it to you, so I wanted to write it down for you. Your birthday post was late this year, but I got it done because I want you to have these when you grow up.
When I got my iPhone 5 the battery would last a day. Apple replaced it for that and other reasons, but I did some Googling back then on ways to extend iPhone battery life and it helped.
Disable location services where you can to avoid the drain of GPS
I left location services on for weather apps, map apps, Yelp, and Find My iPhone. That’s it. I turned off location services for everything else that wanted to know my location. For me, that was 11 apps, including headscratchers like Fruit Ninja and Photoshop Express.
Location services are under Settings:Privacy.
Disable Push and use Fetch
Push notifications come from Apple servers from a variety of sources. They’re sent to your phone automatically and require attention from your phone that uses up battery life.
To disable, go to Settings:Mail, Contacts, Calendars:Fetch New Data. Turn Push off. Turn Fetch on to periodically download notifications. If you choose the Manual setting, notifications will only be downloaded when you open that app (Mail, Facebook, etc.).
Kill apps running in the background
I just checked and I had 20 apps running in the background, including things like picture apps, maps, and good old Fruit Ninja.
To stop apps, doubleclick the Home button, press and hold any app, and click the minus icon on the app you want to stop. The apps will return the next time they’re used, so you’ll have to repeat this every now and then.