Wednesday, June 29, 2011

He's Trying to Focus

"What, all of us?"

I know, I know....a bad punchline to a bad joke but maybe a good way to introduce the Lytro Picture Revolution that is designed to help those who fail to focus an autofocus camera on the correct subject. This camera (still unseen) has received a lot of press this past week.

Mostly from the geek press rather than the photography press.

But still, a lot of press.

We've all done it as some time. That tremendous picture that would have captured that one moment in life when everything and everyone that matters was there and looking their best.....

.......and the camera focused on the house behind the group.

Image ruined.

Throw it away.

Even Photoshop or Lightroom (or even Aperture) can't help.

Well, the Lytro technology aims to help. Unfortunaetly, it doesn't work retroactively on pictures that you've already taken and likely requires that you buy a new camera. The camera may also give up something in resolution as a compromise.

But if you're willing to accomodate all of those requirements and limitations then the promise of unlimited focusing may be achevaiable. Lytro describes their process as capturing the entire light field that fully defines how a scene appears. The light field is the amount of light traveling in every direction through every point in space; it’s all the light rays in a scene.

Lytro have developed a light field sensor to capture this information. The sensor captures the color, intensity and vector direction of the rays of light. They report that most of the work is done by the processing capability rather than hardware. I wonder if this means that existing sensors may be able to use this technology with just a software upgrade.

And the benefits?

They allow both the picture taker and the viewer to focus pictures after they’re snapped, shift their perspective of the scene, and even switch seamlessly between 2D and 3D views. With these amazing capabilities, pictures become immersive, interactive visual stories that were never before possible – they become living pictures.


As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words so here's a gallery of images that you can play with that shows off the technology.

I'm reminded very much of a scene from one of my favorite movies, Blade Runner, where Harisson Ford (Dekker) takes 2D photographs and explores the 3D world from which the images were taken. That might be a little beyond what Lytro promises but it's certainly a significant step towards seeing the subject of android dreams.

Here's hoping that this isn't vaporware and we see the capability becoming real.

And here's hoping even more that the rumors that this will be incorporated into future iPhones to also be true.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Steve Jobs Biographies

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's Super Steve!

I know, a little obvious, right? You expected more from a panelologist.

Back to the topic. I reviewed a copy of the existing biography of Job's life a while back. As a book, iCon: The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business was pretty dry (that's the kind review). Borrow the book from the library if you have to read it. But now there's a new book that Jobs recently authorized Walter Isaacson to write called iSteve: The Book of Jobs which is due to be published next year. I'm hoping for more with this book.

But in the meantime, Bluewater Productions has just solicited a comic book biography of Jobs in this months Previews. The $3.99, 32-page comic book will be published in August and released under the title Steve Jobs: Co-Founder of Apple. Bluewater publishes biographies of many famous people (politicians seem to be their main targets) and they're usually, well....they're usually not very good.

I'll be interested to see what the team of Cooke (writer) and Schmidt (artist) produce this time.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Updates Completed for Now

My apologies to anyone who's been trying to go through the blog over the last couple of days.

Things have been moving around.

A lot.

I've made a small change to the appearance (from black to grey and black) but chose a theme that I think highlights the posts a little better than before.

I added search and share features and removed the single Digg button from each post as it wasn't generating much interest.

Google's +1 feature was added as was the ability to mail, like, blog or tweet to each post.

I went back through all the posts to update images and ensure that formatting in the new theme worked well. I may go back and play with image size on some posts but that's just tweaking.

I also enable comments for all, not just registered users. All comments are still moderated and if I see to much spam, I'll switch back (I'm talking to the chinese spammers who like to add links to porn sites in their periods........).

The last thing I added was ads from Google (which should be on-topic) and Amazon (which should only show their deal's which I like to follow anyway).

If you don't like ads, you can remove them at the browser level (on your computer) using AdBlock which works on Chrome, Firefox and Safari (that covers 96% of the audience). I have AdBlock installed but have it disabled for the blog on my browser so I get to see what ads are being added. If I see too much junk coming through then I'll turn the ads off again.

I hope you like the changes and can make use of the new features.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Please excuse the mess.....

I must be crazy waiting until the weather turns good but I'm going to be playing around with the sites theme over the next few days.

My apologies for the mess over the next few days.

Working off-line didn't seem to work too well on Blogger.