A Day Made of Glass 2 – A Mind-Blowing Glimpse into the Future

This phenomenal vision will require immense leaps in technology, bandwidth, processing power and a mind-shift in the way we interact with our environment. It’s both exciting and frustrating to know what’s possible and yet to realize we’re not there yet.

From Mashable:

Gorilla Glass manufacturer Corning has unveiled a follow-up YouTube video to its wildly successful “A Day Made of Glass,” providing another look into what the future could be like with the growth of glass touchscreen interfaces, from innovative chalkboards and activity tables in classrooms to uses for it in hospitals.

Corning released two versions of “A Day Made of Glass 2″ — one with a narrator and another, abbreviated version without commentary — the video follows the life of young Amy and her family as they go through their day using various products made of glass. Amy does classwork on a glass tablet, controls the temperature of the car from the backseat and even attends a field trip at the Redwood Forrest with an interactive signage that brings learning to life. Her teacher also works with students on interactive touchscreen activity tables. Corning expects these activity tables to be rolled out in the near future.

Using Google Earth to find the absolute farthest place from home

Using Google Earth’s “ruler” tool, I was able to find the absolute farthest place in the world from Jakarta. I previously thought my home state of Michigan was pretty far from here. I was wrong: it’s only 9,856 miles from Jakarta. It turns out Bogota, Colombia is close to being the absolute farthest place from Jakarta at 12,436 miles. (The opposite side of the globe from Michigan turns out to be a place 1,300 miles off the west coast of Australia). Ok, so how to do this?

  • Open Google Earth
  • Click on the “ruler” tool (or measure tool)
  • Left click on your starting point
  • Drag the ruler around the world until the ruler swivels around (therefore finding a shorter route)
  • Left click again to mark the place. Voila. Somewhere around 12,400 miles is the farthest place from your starting point.

Some other interesting opposites (I’ve approximated to the nearest populated area):

* London – New Zealand
* Sydney – Azores Islands
* Cape Town – Hawaii
* Tokyo – Rio de Janeiro
* San Francisco – Madagascar
* Baghdad – Tahiti
* New York – Perth
* Bangkok – Lima, Peru
* Guam – Salvador, Brazil

Ultimately, what does all this mean to us? That our parents were full of it when they said, “If you keep digging you’ll end up in China!”. The opposite side of the world from Beijing is actually near Buenos Aires, Argentina!

Now it’s your turn.

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So many online groups, so little time. Flickr, Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

I’ve started taking a look at Jaiku. I’m always up for trying something new, but admittedly find it a bit overwhelming to have: a blog, flickr, twitter, myspace, facebook, friendster (ok, so I tried it), multiply, vox, regular chat accounts, not to mention the offline life.

So I’m feeling as though I need to stick to a few very solid communities, groups, or technologies. What does Jaiku have over the others? What does Facebook have over Myspace? I’m still not caught up with twitter, I feel as though it’s something that could be put to better use than what I see many people using it for (does everyone really need to know that you’re sitting on the couch in your boxers watching the 10th straight episode of Prison Break with a wicked hangover?).

Additionally, wireless ‘net isn’t widely available throughout Jakarta, and our handphone network technology / price point isn’t up to the level (in my opinion) that entices me to even bother using a smartphone over here – thereby reducing my interest even further in many of these groups.

Are there other sites out there worth checking out? Are there other uses for things like Vox/Twitter/Jaiku that would be more inspiring? Perhaps sticking only to music/movie/book reviews? Other type of updates which would be more useful to others? Bantu donk!

Notebook and Laptop Screens: Matte vs Glossy and Macbook Pro vs Macbook Screens

A crash course in modern Mac notebook screens:

With the advent of the Macbook, Apple switched from a matte screen to glossy for the Macbook line. Many users welcome this change, as many people find that the colors are more saturated (blacks more black, etc), contrast may be higher (not always a good thing), and for things like movies and games, the screen may be more vibrant. The downside is that the glossy screens can double as a mirror in the wrong lighting (meaning anything other than indoors or with strong back lighting). Additionally, many designers, photographers, and other visual artists feel the glossy screens present unrealistic colors, overly contrasted images, and photographs cannot be accurately matched to the final print.

Options: glossy or matte?


Apple surely has their reasons for switching: perhaps it’s cheaper to produce, maybe typical consumers (vs professionals) prefer them in market testing. (many pc notebooks have switched to glossy).

The good news is that Macbook Pro users have the option to choose one or the other. If you’re a geek like me, you’ll do your homework before choosing something so important. Think about it; you drop 2 grand or more on a laptop with all the bells and whistles, but the screen is what you interact with for the rest of the life of the notebook. However, even doing the typical exhausting research doesn’t yield a clear answer. Visual artists tend to present passionate arguments for both sides.

As I currently use a beautiful 20″ iMac to edit my photographs, I’m more accustomed to the matte screen for photography. However, I’m typing this on a Macbook with the glossy screen right now in an outdoor cafe. I have a bright pane of windows surrounding me on all sides, and have no problems at all with the Macbook for general use.

Confusing conundrum: Macbook screen brighter than the Pro?

I was in the Apple store last night and did some basic comparisons. In all fairness, I was comparing the Macbook to the Macbook Pro instead of two Macbook Pros side by side. Adjusting the brightness to its fullest and bringing up the same desktop background, I noticed something peculiar. The Macbook was displaying details in shadows and darker areas that the Macbook Pro wasn’t even showing. I did this many times with multiple backgrounds. The Pro was a matte screen and was the core duo model not the core2 duo. Perhaps the core2 duo model’s screen has been updated to a higher output? I know the glossy screen tends to seem brighter, but this was a case where there was actually a very big difference in details showing up – and this concerns me as a photographer. Does anyone have experience with a Macbook Pro matte or glossy? Do you regret your decision one way or another? Have you had any problems with the reports of “graininess” in your screen?

Reality: How critical is all this?

Now, in all reality, a photographer / designer / visual artist probably shouldn’t be editing photos for production work on a laptop screen. There’s no laptop screen on the market that can compare with a pro level screen at this time. However, both Macs can easily output to another monitor, making the glossy/matte decision much less critical in many cases. On the flip side, not everyone can afford to get into a nice external monitor and most people will find no qualms editing photos on either of the screens.

To make matters more confusing, rumors have been circulating that Apple will be introducing LED lit screens into their notebooks sometime in the near future.

From AppleInsider:

While pricer than CCFLs, LED technology is more efficient at distributing lighting evenly across the entire display surface and offers an increase in color saturation. According to a white paper from Cree, a backlight solutions provider expected to provide its LED technology to Apple, LED-based backlights also consume less power, run cooler, and last longer than CCFLs.

For end users, the new technology translates into improved notebook battery life and displays that will maintain their initial levels of brightness longer into their respective life-cycles. Come this spring, LED-lit displays will also deliver a more vivid canvas for the various software user interface enhancements and animation techniques that will be included with Mac OS X Leopard.

To wrap things up, the computer’s processor may be the brains of a notebook, but the screen is certainly the beauty. It’s not something trivial to those who care about the quality their work presents. For road warriors, traveling artists and photographers, the notebook screen may be their only screen; often it needs to meet a number of demands under ever-changing environments. When deciding on a notebook, it’s not a time to make quick decisions; nor is it recommended to order something like a Macbook Pro in matte or glossy without actually seeing and comparing them first. (by the way, if you order a MBP it generally will be matte by default; in Indonesia you have to pay more for the glossy and they’re never on display). Whether one is better than the other ultimately boils down to personal preference and what your needs may be. Make the decision only after careful consideration; buyer’s remorse after spending two or three grand is not a pleasant thing.

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Handphones are destroying memories (handphone cameras vs point and shoot cameras)

What a bold statement to make, right?

Having lived in Indonesia for half a decade, I’ve witnessed a revolution in handphone/cellphone technology – a revolution which swept across Asia and throughout the world. Upon my arrival, handphones were something you used to call someone with – and that’s about all. With the arrival of video and photo capturing abilities built into these pocket rockets, there’s little need to carry other gadgets around – or is there?

I cringe when I see people using their phones as a camera to capture irreplaceable memories. Now, I’m not talking about snapshots with friends, office parties, bar moments, and the ability to record your parking space. I mean when I visit astounding locations such as Borobudur Temple, Tanah Lot, or when capturing memories which will never-again be repeated: birthdays, holidays, births, etc.

I realize the convenience of just being able to pull out this device which is always with you, and take video or photos of these times. But the simple fact is that even your four year old 4 megapixel point and shoot camera will take much better photos than a handphone. And please don’t get suckered into believing that megapixels alone make a good photograph. Even if they pack 8 megapixels into the latest Nokia, it won’t hold a candle to that same 4 megapixel P&S.

It’s not the megapixels so much as sensor size which creates the gap in image quality with mobiles vs other type of cameras. The sensor size in a mobile phone is quite small. The smaller the sensor, the less light is introduced to the sensor, therefore requiring more sensitivity to be amplified. That creates more heat, and the heat thereby makes noise. As the megapixels density is increased, generally this just gets to be even more of a problem. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, take two identical photos with an average point and shoot, and then take the same photo with your handphone’s camera. Oh, and just for kicks, try that same type of shot in low light.

Perhaps a few years ago, most of these people would have been using their point and shoot to capture the same moment as they now use their sub-par handphone camera to do so. Ironically, as technology marches forward, the quality of their digital memories has decreased.

The point I’m making, is don’t be deceived into the marketing hype, believing that the latest handphone’s digital camera should be a valid replacement for your camera. If you’re traveling to a unique destination, make sure you use your camera, not your handphone. And if you’re recording your child’s first steps – (time permitting) grab your video camera, not your handphone. You (and your child) will thank yourselves later.

This is not to say that technology will never catch up. Surely those lab coats are dreaming up things none of us can yet fathom, and in the not-too-distant future, I’ll be proven dead wrong and this post will be null. But live for now, use that little point and shoot instead of your handphone, and take time to capture these moments. Aren’t your memories worth it?