I just recently re-discovered the mind warping Wait But Why website thanks to the Back To Work podcast. If you want to feel really small and change the way you look at the night sky then read the article The Fermi Paradox.
Continuing to speculate, if 1% of intelligent life survives long enough to become a potentially galaxy-colonizing Type III Civilization, our calculations above suggest that there should be at least 1,000 Type III Civilizations in our galaxy alone—and given the power of such a civilization, their presence would likely be pretty noticeable. And yet, we see nothing, hear nothing, and we’re visited by no one.
They rest of the article continues to speculate as to why.
Here I am, I mean it this time. No really, I'm completly serious, I'm fully dedicated to writing on this blog. Hang on, my son is having "an accident"...
Ok, I'm back.
Writing is hard. And since I don't consider myself a writer (not yet) then I shouldn't be so hard on me. Grammer is also hard. But I do want to have a project or to work on ouside of my full-time job. A creative outlet if you will.
That is where TonyMartinez.org comes in. I'll write this mostly for myself, if other people find it, great. Until then, there are also many great writers, photographers, and creators online. I'd like to join the conversation.
For Jessica's birthday we went to Seattle, WA for the day. Here are some of the photos from our trip.
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
Happy Independence Day
Breaking radio silence to bring you a Kickstarter project that looks really interesting. The Capture Camera Clip is the second version of this product by Peak Design. Essentially it's a camera mount that lets photographers wear their cameras cliped to their body, like a cownboy. Take a look at the video and you'll see what I mean.
The design of the clip allows you to quickly remove a camera, take a shot, and put it back securly with minimal effort. There are several levels to back it from $50 for the the Standard version up to $185 for the CapturePro and a few accessories.
I backed it, and you ought to if you enjoy not having to keep your camera hidden in it's bag.
[kickstarter url=http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/97103764/capture-camera-clip-v2 width=220]
Google has just announced that their RSS service Google Reader will be shut down on July 1, 2013. The reason why?
There are two simple reasons for this: usage of Google Reader has declined, and as a company we’re pouring all of our energy into fewer products. We think that kind of focus will make for a better user experience.
Translation: Only the geeks use this, we can't provide adds through it, and we want to move on. I am not at all surprised by this but am still sad to see it go.
Your cars computer, connected to your smart phone. Finally. The possibilities are endless and this new device and app finally open the vehicle's brain to more then just your local mechanic.
Your Car and Smartphone, Connected. Just plug the Automatic Link into your car's data port. Your car and smartphone will automatically connect whenever you drive, wirelessly.
This post is about a photo management service I learned about from John Gruber's podcast, The Talk Show. Everpix was a sponsor on episode 32 and he's been raving about it ever since. I'm going to try to write this in a different way, going with a who, what, when, when, where, why, how format. If it works I may stick with it for future reviews.
Who made it
Everpix was made by a group of extremely good web and application developers and very talented designers. How good you ask? Just take a look at this and you'll see where some of these people have worked before. The people involved in Everpix have worked for places like Apple, Cooliris, Frog Design, and other great companies. These guys know what they are doing. The CEO, Pierre-Oliver Latour, has a work history that includes graduating from Stanford University and continuing on to found companies and being a Software Engineer at Apple. The history of the other guys on the team are just as impressive. And the product shows it.
What is it
Everpix is an online photography management service that has a few really nice tricks up it's sleeve. After you sign up, download the utility for your Mac or PC, and create your account, you are prompted to add a few services that it pulls your photos from. Add Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, and even your computer photo library and Everpix will import ALL your photos. Don't worry, this is ok, and it's private. You can also pick and chose what folders from your PC it imports. After I imported nearly 8000 photos from my Mac, and several hundred on the other various web services, Everpix took a few hours to process and analyze them. This is where the magic of Everpix really becomes evident. And yes, it's magic, these guys are wizards, all of them.
Everpix uses a super amazing method to perform a semantic analysis of the images that actually understands what is in your photos. It can essentially "see" things like People, landscapes, pets, and dishes. Fancy right? Everpix can help you find those older photos and rediscover images in a way that goes along with how we think. Not only that but it can also, and with good accuracy, analyze perspective and distance from subject in your images.
The Everpix website allows you to view your photos in a number of ways.
- Highlights will display images in a timeline of automatically sized thumbnails with no duplicates. Yeah, no duplicates!
- Moments shows you photos based on time, dividing the images up by day and even further by early morning, mid-day, night, and late-night.
- Sources displays photos by, you guessed it, their source. This view shows where the photo was imported from and displays it along side other images from the same source. So if I want to see all my Instagram photos from February, which I often do, I now can easily. I can also download them all.
- Explore is where that super amazing semantic analysis really shines. Pick one of five subject types and Everpix will extract photos that match the category. All by itself.
There are other nice features too, like creating a Photo Page that can be shared with anyone by giving them a link. And there's also the typical sharing on Facebook, Twitter, and email.
When did it come out
Where can I use it
Why is this useful
Because it's automatic. The utility that you install on your computer imports photos without you having to do anything. You set it and forget it. Same with other services like Facebook and Flickr. Those images are also imported automatically. But you can also go in and change the settings to modify how it works. Don't want to import your embarrassing Facebook photos anymore? Just disconnect the service and they're gone.
With the apps, the images are always available. Highlights, Sources, Moments, and Explore are all viewable from the iPhone and iPad. Not to mention Everpix.com is accessible from any computer with a modern web browser. Over 8000 photos of mine can be viewed from anywhere I have one of these devices. And it does it with style.
How can I find it
This app has been around for a while now but it's worth mentioning here as a way to enhance your photography. Especially in low light situations.
Cortex Cam is an app for both the iPhone and iPad that uses the video feed from the camera to take a nearly noise free high quality photo. In almost any shooting condition. It's a super simple app with very few settings to change. You can decide between a quick 2MP photo or an 8MP image that takess some time to process but looks great. You can even choose to save the image as a PNG if that's how you roll.
I can see using this camera app in many situations, as long as there isn't anything moving in the picture. If there is you may get some blurring. But in most settings, this app can greatly enhance the photo, not just with noise but also with better colors and contrast. Check it out here
Director Zach Snyder on "The Man of Steel" movie in an interview with the New York Times.
ZS: It’s a more serious version of Superman. It’s not like a heart attack. We took the mythology seriously. We take him as a character seriously. I believe the movie would appeal to anyone. I think that you’re going to see a Superman you’ve never seen before. We approached it as though no other films had been made. He’s the king-daddy. Honestly that’s why I wanted to do it. I’m interested in Superman because he’s the father of all superheroes. He’s this amazing ambassador for all superheroes. What was it about him that cracked the code that made pop culture embrace this other mythology? What we‘ve made as a film not only examines that but is also an amazing adventure story. It’s been an honor to work on. As a comic book fan, Superman is like the Rosetta Stone of all superheroes. I wanted to be sure the movie treated it respectfully.
Yes please. This makes me even more excited about the release of the new Superman movie. June 2013 is a long way away.
But who would have thought the nation’s top spy chief would be undone so easily by digital footprints left behind in e-mail?
In the irony of ironies, the distinguished career of CIA Director and former Afghanistan war commander David Petraeus appears to have come unhinged after authorities traced the location of the sender of threatening e-mails that were written from an anonymous e-mail account and sent to a woman in Florida.
This is a terrible demonstration of the both the imperfect human, and the power of technology. But here's the really interesting part.
In examining these other accounts, agents uncovered sexually explicit e-mails that Broadwell exchanged with another party who also used a Gmail account. Investigators were not able to immediately identify Petraeus as the other party, however, because he’d set up his Gmail account using a pseudonym.
This is just crazy. Petraus had become head of the CIA. The CIA. And was taken down by the onine services he used to commiunicate with. The story is complex and it's worth reading the whole artice.
I've been wanting to write about Evernote here for a while now. This and Omnifocus keep me sane and are indispensable as I attmept to organize my life and work. Evernote is a service that has so many uses that it can be difficult to pin down exactly what it does. This is on purpose, it can fit into anyone's life. A quick description of Evernote is best said on their website
Evernote makes it easy to remember things big and small from your everyday life using your computer, phone, tablet and the web.
This service allows you to put things you want or need to remember in safe online storage for quick retrieval later. I've been using it for a few years now and have found it indispensable with my less than perfect memory. So what exactly can you put in Evernote? Anything really, but instead of listing out it's features I'd like to go through a couple of ways I use it.
Evernote organizes your "notes" into notebooks. They group the things you save into categories you decide. I have at least 15, including things like Work, Taxes, Adoption, Blogging, Food, Trips, Home, and Wish List. I also have a main notebook that acts as an inbox. I occasionally go through this and sort out it's contents into the other notebooks.
I use an iPhone, iPad, and Mac with Evernote. Their apps allow you to capture the information you want to remember and all the info is synced between all your devices. Here's an example of how I use it. My wife and I are at Home Depot. We've decided to re-decorate my office and are planning out what changes we'd like to make. As we go through the store I use Evernote on my iPhone to take photos of the paint swatches we might want to use for the walls. I can add text to each note describing what I'd like to use each color for. Now we're in the lighting isle. We come across three ceiling lights and 2 floor lamps we like but can't decide between. Simple, I just capture them with photos in Evernote where they are saved for me to decide on later while I'm at my computer at home. Each of these notes are saved into my "Home" notebook so I can find them easily.
You can literally use Evernote for whatever you need to. Businesses use it for managing their operations. Families use it for archiving scans of their children's artwork saving it permanently. Save your favorite restaurants and menu items. Movies you want to see. Research a paper for school and keep everything in an Evernote notebook. I also have setup to backup every article on this website to Evernote automatically.
There are many uses for Evernote it would be impossible to go over everything. Its utilities like this that I use to keep myself organized and to compensate for an unreliable memory. Evernote holds all my memories, Omnifocus keeps my tasks.
Another example. I am taking a quick trip to Hawaii and need to plan out the activities I'd like to do while I'm there. I create a "Hawaii Trip" notebook that I can add items into. As I am researching the best snorkeling areas in Maui I come across a web page for a bay I want to visit while I'm there. Evernote's web browser extensions let me capture the web page or article I'm reading and save it to a notebook. After saving four or five places I'd like to see I can later view them on my iPad when I meet with the other people I'm going with for planning. And add more info as we talk. Once I get to Hawaii, all the information is on my iPhone ready to go.
Tools like this are why I get excited about tech. There is more to cover for both Evernote and Omnifocus and I plan on going into more depth on each of them in the future. For now, go download Evernote, you'll find a use for it.
Here are a few test photos taken from my new Nikon D7000 digital SLR. So far I'm really liking it. It's a huge upgrade from my 6 year old Sony A-100. Having trouble getting tack sharp photos from it though. Which is probably not the camera, it's probably me. Hopefully I can learn how to pull better images out once I really get my head around this camera. Also using a 35mm f1.8 lens for some of these shots. Great lens. Enjoy!
Looks like the new iPhone will be announced on September 12th. What they'll call it we will just have to wait and see. I'm hoping it will be just "The new iPhone". No more numbers. The website iMore.com was the first to report that the next gen iPhone would be announced on this day. They have had great sources and have been really on target over the last few years. Check them out.
This last weekend my wife and I spent our Saturday at the Pike Place Market in Seattle Washington. We went there for one reason and one reason only, the OMG peaches. If you visit the market, go about half way down the main section of the top floor. You'll see a jocular young man or woman with a knife and a peach in front of a humble fruit stand. If you make eye contact they will gladly slice a portion of this mouthwatering fruit and hand it to you with a knowing smile. Go ahead, take it, and try not to cut yourself on their knife. They present you the segment with the same hand they cut it out with. Careful. Then they watch you, scrutinizing your reaction as you taste it suddenly realizing how little you've experienced in life. The only thing you can think to say is their nick name for the fruit.
Pike Place Market is full of gems like this, from the endless rows of women constantly making beautiful flower arrangements, to the tiny donut stand turning out tiny donuts. Not to mention the guys tossing fish to each other like it's the Super Bowl. And that's still just the first floor. Venture "DownUnder" into the bowels of the market and you'll come across shops even more interesting and eclectic.
You could spend hours inside, going through each and every shop, but there are fascinating things to be found on the street outside as well. The best of which are the musicians. A man playing a upright piano is on the corner of Pike Place and Pine. Tell him we say hello. Go to the Starbucks, besides the fact that this is the first Starbucks, you'll find a person or persons serenading the customers as they literally cram themselves inside. And both times I've been to the market I found a man playing the guitar; while hula hooping, playing the spoons and the harmonica. A modern day troubadour.
If you get the chance, go. Bring cash, most places don't take credit cards. And expect to see, smell, hear, and taste the most distinctive of what Seattle has to offer.
Mars has company these days. The rover Curiosity touched down safely and has sent back an image to prove it. Many people thought it a strange choice for NASA to pick a 2 megapixel camera sensor for this mission. 40MP sensors exist and even normal sized ones are cheap to use and readily available. So why go with just 2MP?
Because Curiosity can only transmit roughly 31MB per day. That's less than 1 gigabyte per month. Per Month!
There are so many good cameras out right now. The Sony Nex-7 and RX100 and the Cannon EOS M are the ones that have caught my eye this last year. But these cameras are all different from the DSLR I currently own. The Nex-7 is Sony's take on the mirrorless system, and it costs the most. The RX100 is essentially a pocket camera, a point and shoot. And the Cannon EOS M is a new compact mirrorless camera that seems quite capable.
The DSLR I currently own is almost 6 years old. In the time I've owned it Apple has developed and released the iPhone (original, 3G, 3GS, 4 & 4S). Blackberry has all but lost it's hold on the smartphone market. And the US has finally pulled out of Iraq. It's time for an upgrade. But I won't, because as desirable as these newer cameras are my "old" one is still just as good as it was 6 years ago. I really have no good reason to upgrade, or have the disposable income to do so. For me, cameras are unlike phones or even computers. Digital cameras have finaly made it to a point where development is no longer at a steep incline. You can sit it out for a few years and not miss out on too much. Sure the cameras that have come out in 2011 and 2012 are great, and have amazing capabilities, but in a couple more years they will be even better.
And that's exciting.
The mirror less interchangeable lens camera has been one of the most unique developments in the last few years. Simply put, these cameras take the sensors of their DSLR cousins and stuff into a point and shoot sized body.
No moving mirrors or prisms can be found inside either. The light from the lens is directed in a straight line onto the sensor itself. This design allows manufacturers to create smaller camera bodies while still being able to have the flexibility of a DSLR. Yes, you can actually swap out lenses too. See image above for what is possible with a system like this.
When I'm ready, my next camera will most likely be one of these. I would gladly forfeit my DSLR for something flexible enough to actually carry with me everywhere. If I were pro I'm sure I would want something different, or both. But I'm not. Of course in a couple years I may be saying something different. So don't hold me to this.
Siri has the ability to check the weather for you with results provided by Yahoo.com. It's great for a quick update of the current temperature, or if it's going to rain tomorrow, but it doesn't provide much more than that. Luckily, Siri can also pull search results from WolframAlpha's immense "Computational Knowledge Engine". The ways you can use WolframAlpha are endless, but it's weather information is some of the best out there, all you have to do is know how to ask.
How to do it
The trick to getting results from WolframAlpha is to enable Siri and say "Wolfram" before your question. For the weather say something like "Wolfram, weather forecast for Portland Oregon". Siri will then pull up a long sheet full of useful information.
It has your typical temperature and wind speed, but also adds relative humidity, dew point and even a quick description of the cloud cover. Where it really shines though is in the presentation of the forecast data itself. The weather history and forecast for the last three days and future three days are presented in a neat graph showing the fluctuating temperature and expected cloud cover throughout the day. Also precipitation rate if it's currently raining. Further down you'll find historical temperatures for the location you asked Siri about. A search for Portland, Oregon displayed recorded high and low temperatures as far back as 1975. Additionally it provides the lowest and highest temp for the current day in history, as well as the average high and average low.
There are a few more interesting pieces of information here like sun azimuth, station elevation and if the sun is above the horizon or not. It is an incredible amount of information that you don't even need to download another weather app for.