OMG: Water + Speaker + Camera = Mind Blown

I came across this video today and my jaw literally dropped. The guy behind it is known as Brusspup and his YouTube channel has a handful of illusions that are pretty inspired. But it’s the magic he does here with water that had me all giddy. Put on some headphones cause you’re going to want to hear this, as well as see it.

Ever since I created the first version of this video a year ago I’ve been wanting to try it again with more water and better lighting / footage. This is a really fun project and when you first see the results, chances are your jaw will drop. The main thing to keep in mind for this project is that you need a camera that shoots 24 fps.

The effect that you are seeing can’t be seen with the naked eye. The effect only works through the camera. However, there is a version of the project you can do where the effect would be visible with the naked eye. For that project, you’d have to use a strobe light.

So a hat tip to Brusspup for making me smile and look on in awe. Such a simple experiment all done with things I have in my apartment yet I never thought of doing this. He did a great job of explaining what’s going on in the video and gave plenty of instructions on how you can do this yourself in the full video description. Can’t wait to see what he does next.

The Veronica Mars Kickstarter is Awesome

Everyone loves Kristen Bell. Whether she’s the uncredited voice on Gossip Girl, being forgotten as Sarah Marshall, an electrified hero on NBC’s Heroes or the crime-solving sleuth known as Veronica Mars. Her ability to be absolutely adorable on screen is only matched by her ability to be the silver tongued protagonist everyone wants on their side.

Veronica MarsRob Thomas, the creator of Veronica Mars, has been pitching a movie version of the cult TV show for a while now. Sadly Warner Bros., who owns Veronica Mars, kept saying no due to the relatively low ratings the show got (ahem, Firefly). However, Warner Bros. said their mind could be changed if Rob Thomas could prove the fan interest was there. Continue reading

Google Reader is Dead, Long Live RSS

Wow, what a busy news day. First we get a new Pope. In walked Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina and out walked Pope Francis. Then there was the amazing news about a Veronica Mars movie being funded on Kickstarter. And now it’s the sunsetting of Google Reader.

Google Ending Reader Service The way people are talking about this on Twitter and Facebook, you’d think Google just killed RSS entirely. RSS, for those who don’t know, is “Really Simple Syndication” which basically allows people and services to easily subscribe to blogs like mine. It does a whole heck of a lot more but that’s the basics and what Google Reader took advantage of.

There is much speculation that Google shuttering Reader means the end of RSS and all the apps that use RSS and/or Google Reader integration. I read hundreds of articles a week through my Google Reader account, as viewed on my iPhone/iPad/Mac in the awesome Reeder app.

Google-Reader-StatisticsI log into Reeder with my Google information and it presents to me all of the RSS feeds I have subscribed to. Instead of having to load up dozens of sites a number of times in a day, I just tell Reeder to refresh the feeds. RSS also powers the distribution of podcasts and is incorporated in lots of social media and device/system status services.

RSS is brilliant and it isn’t dead

RSS can’t just die. It’s decentralized like Ham radios. It might be replaced with something else (ATOM is superior but hasn’t taken off like RSS) but the function it provides will live on. A lot of tech pundits are making the point that social media is at blame for this. More and more people are getting their news through Twitter and Facebook shares many of which get aggregated by apps like Pulse and Flipboard. There is definitely truth to that. The overwhelming majority of traffic to my site is through Google searches followed by Twitter. But these forms of news-gathering only work “in the now” not after the fact. Once it isn’t trending, it isn’t seen. That’s where RSS comes in.

As you see in the image above, there are days that I am just too busy to read my RSS feeds. Then there are days where I read a ton of articles. These are the days I’m catching up on articles posted earlier in the week and where relying on Twitter for my news would fail.

Continue reading

Will Streaming Music Services Kill the Music Industry?

I have always been a fan of music. The first song I can really think of totally being obsessed with was “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper (imagine that). I remember listening to that with my mom over our Chevy Caprice‘s radio. I was just a little kid but I’ll never forget.

Chumbawamba‘s Tubthumper was the first CD I ever owned. Don’t judge me, judge my uncle who chose the album, I was 13 years old. A few years later I would start recording from the radio and eventually use Napster to discover and download new music, later to AudioGalaxy. In high school I became known as the guy to go to for CD compilations.

As I started to concern myself with audio quality, I dropped all the music from file sharing sites like Napster and started replacing the tracks with high quality rips of CDs I’d buy. Later iTunes became my music store of choice with a handful of albums from AmazonMP3. Since then it’s been sort of a non-stop buying spree for me. Or so I thought.

Anecdotal-iTunesWhat you see above is the song release timeline of my iTunes Match library. This anecdotal data comes with caveats to consider before we analyze anything. Continue reading

Leap Motion + Fleksy is Genius Typing in the Air

A post showed up on Engadget this morning that caught my eye.

Laser projected virtual keyboardsSo 2004. These days, tech firms are dreaming up completely invisible typewriters, or at least Syntellia is. By marrying a Leap Motion sensor with its own Fleksy predictive keyboard, the company has created a system that seems to let you type on thin air

01-LeapMotion-Logo

Yet another crazy-cool thing coming out of SXSW this year. You might say I predicted this. Last week I wrote posts about each of these companies and how I was excited about the work they are doing. I ended my Leap Motion post remarking on the promising future the miniscule device has. I suggested it could read sign language and allow people with arthritis to control computers without the joint pain, to control of a television without a remote.

Fleksy_LogoThen, in my Fleksy post I suggested ways Fleksy could make the move out of touchscreen devices and incorporated into computers. I wrote specifically how it could be used to speed up typing and allow a dramatic increase in accuracy.

But what I neglected to put together was what would happen if Fleksy worked with Leap Motion. Well, turns out they were already thinking about this and have announced Fleksy integration with Leap Motion, and it’s pretty brilliant. Imagine controlling your AppleTV with the Leap Motion, swiping in the air through videos and songs. When it came time to do a search in the Netflix app, you’d have the ability to simply type in the air using Fleksy integration instead of the traditional, and painfully slow, method of input with the AppleTV onscreen keyboard.

I’m not sure if I’m a genius for thinking abstractly of these two ideas or dense for not thinking of combining the two. Either way I’m even more looking forward to the delivery of my Leap Motion. Apple being the silo that it is, we might have to work with some XMBC hackers to get the above integration working but it would be worth it.

Fleksy is Revolutionizing How We Tap to Type

Recently I joined the co-working space WeWork here in SOMA San Francisco. I wrote a post on what inspired me to join a co-working space and what specifically brought me to WeWork over the competition, namely The Hatchery, NextSpace and PARISOMA. In that post I wrote how I wanted to start profiling the companies I find especially impressive that share this workspace with me and in particular, Syntellia, the team behind Fleksy.

Fleksy Logo

Ever dreamt of an auto-correct system powerful enough to work even when you don’t look at the screen? Enter, Fleksy… Featuring Syntellia’s patent pending technologies, Fleksy uses the familiar QWERTY layout, coupled with probably the most powerful text prediction engine out there.

After I wrote that post, Bill Rappos, UX Design at Syntellia, waved at me from his office (it’s literally on the mezzanine right in front of me) and came down to talk about Fleksy. That alone is reason enough to work in a space like WeWork! Let’s find out what Fleksy does and how it might revolutionize how you tap to type on your phone and tablet.

Fleksy KeyboardFleksy is a free software keyboard for mobile devices (currently a universal iOS app but Android is in beta) that uses an incredibly smart, predictive typing algorithm to assist in tapping out text on touchscreen devices. It’s so good that you can miss every letter and it will more than likely guess what you meant to type. This should not be confused with the sometimes hilariously wrong autocorrect found in the iPhone. Fleksy is so good, I was able to type the text above without even looking at the screen. Continue reading

Quickly – Facebook Quietly Updates Events RSVP Options

Facebook-Like-IconWhen Facebook first rolled out their “Events” section ages ago it gave invited guests three options with which to RSVP.

  1. Going
  2. Maybe
  3. Not Going

Seemed like enough. But people who RSVP “Maybe” to events kind of suck at life. I can’t maybe make more food on the fly. I can’t maybe have enough alcohol. I can’t maybe have enough room for everyone. These are things that I have to have. Ryan and I host parties from time to time and often get as much as 50% of our RSVPs as “Maybe” and it drives me crazy.

Facebook seemed to understand this and for a period of time you could remove the “Maybe” option. People were either there at your party or not there. No longer were there these Schrödinger’s cat guests! (I love making physics jokes…)

Sadly this option was taken away but today I noticed a new option in place of the “Maybe”. Now invitees can select “Interested”.

Facebook Events Interested

This doesn’t bring back the ability to disable all those indecisive people from not committing to your event. However, the wording change might prevent people from abusing the selection like they abuse “Maybe”.

If someone is interested in coming over they should understand that it doesn’t mean they have said they are or aren’t going. It’s a non-commital option that should tell everyone involved that at this point, you’re not going but the event interests you.

Do you think this will make a difference? I sure hope so. Also, properly RSVP to events people. It’s the civilized thing to do. Just ask Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham.