2008-02-28

Northern Voice 2008: DOF and Gallery Hack

Derek Miller, with some help from Kris Krug, gives a quick intro to the concept of depth of field and how to control it. He then presents a neat hack to get photo galleries on your blog that look suspiciously Flickr-like. From the PhotoCamp session at MooseCamp, Northern Voice 2008.

Technical note: The image is a little dark because the lights were off in the room! Given that fact, the GO-HD did a pretty good job.

2008-02-24

Northern Voice 2008: Natural Light Photography

Miranda Lievers from Blue Olive Photography gives a great instructive presentation on making natural and found light portraits - what to look for when placing your subject(s), and how to get great natural portraits when you find the light. Well-illustrated with several excellent photos illustrating the concepts.



From the PhotoCamp session of Northern Voice 2008. A somewhat bigger and higher-quality version is here.

Northern Voice 2008: Enterprise Social

A well-attended session from Northern Voice 2008. David Orchard leads a discussion on the use of social software (especially wikis) within the enterprise. More notes here.

Technical Notes The first 45 seconds or so is audio-only, because I started the camera late. The video was recorded with an Aiptek GO-HD and the audio was recorded with a Zoom H4. This was literally the first time I had ever used the GO-HD and my camera work is pretty wonky in places as I was playing around with it!

2008-02-14

DemoCamp: Scannerfly


Brendan Wilson demos Scannerfly, a Flash component that turns any webcam into a barcode scanner. Presented at DemoCampVancouver05. For a recap of the meeting, go here.

DemoCamp: Twemes


Rochelle Grayson describes how to track Twitter memes with Twemes. Presented at DemoCampVancouver05. For a recap of the whole meeting, see this TechVibes post.

DemoCamp: Localiti


Jason Murphy demos Localiti, a new concept for a web/desktop application that promises to redefine communication and messaging.
From DemoCampVancouver05. Read the meeting recap here.

2008-02-13

DemoCamp: pul.se


Weston Triemstra demos pulse, a Facebook application that helps you keep track of your favorite bands and makes recommendations. This recording is from DemoCampVancouver05. A recap of the meeting can be found on TechVibes.

2008-02-09

Nonlinear Learning, or Why I Don't Read Books Anymore

I had the good fortune a while ago to have dinner with Don Tapscott, a writer/thinker whose work I quite like. There was an awkward moment when I confessed that not only had I not read his latest book, but I doubted that I ever would. Don's a good writer and the subject area is interesting to me, but I just don't read books anymore. More precisely, sometimes I start reading them but I rarely finish. (I've had about 50 pages to go in Cryptonomicon for several years now.) And I do dip into books frequently, especially electronic editions. But read a book? Uh, no.

The reason has something to do with the fact there are so many other information sources that command my attention. I wasn't able to articulate this very well at the time, and now I don't have to because Scott Karp has clarified it admirably. The crux of his argument is summed up by these questions:

What if I do all my reading on the web not so much because the way I read has changed, i.e. I’m just seeking convenience, but because the way I THINK has changed?

What if the networked nature of content on the web has changed not just how I consume information but how I process it?

What if I no longer have the patience to read a book because it’s too…. linear.


Yup, that's it (almost).

We home-schooled our three kids for many years. One of the key advantages of unstructured home-schooling over scheduled learning in a classroom is that you can take advantage of the "learning moment". There comes a time when the child asks a question or otherwise lets you know that she is receptive to hearing some information about a specific topic, right now. The amount of learning you can pack into that moment is incomparably more than what gets absorbed from a steady stream of linear information going by.

Call me ADD if you want but I prefer to think of our digital age as enabling a rich variety of learning moments. Mommy isn't around to answer my questions, but Wikipedia is. So is Twitter, Google, the electronic editions of The Vancouver Sun and The New York Times, Safari books online, my social graph, etc. etc. Sure I hop around from topic to topic and can't follow the bread crumbs back to where I started sometimes, but on the whole I am getting more out of it than by following a linear track. Much more.

I disagree with Scott on one point. I don't believe his (or my) style of thinking has changed. Human thought processes are naturally nonlinear and hyperlinked. It's just that now we have information sources that match. Physical books that are read from beginning to end don't fit.

2008-02-08

Mathematician Up For Grammy

This article tells the wonderful story of how a mathematician helped restore a bootleg recording of Woody Guthrie performing live. Until recently no such recordings were thought to exist, but in 2001 one appeared. The problem was, it was recorded on flimsy wire that was stretched and twisted. The restoration was so good that the recording has been nominated for a Grammy.

http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20080209/mathtrek.asp