Saturday, June 29, 2013

Smartphones don't have great cameras

Don't ever use a shartphone to take a close up of a friend - like Mr. Bear - or you migh lose the friend! Because smartphone cameras are about the size of a BB and cost $5 they have very wide angle lenses. A closeup with such a camera distorts the image as you can see on the left. That's why professionals stand across the room and use long focal length lenses that costs thousands of dollars.

L - Too close     R - Stand back and then crop the image
If you look carefully, you'll see the picture on the left has a big nose and tiny ears while the one on the right has more normally proportioned features. The one on the left was taken up close which seems normal for a portrait with a wide angle lens - but it's a bad idea. To solve this problem, take the picture from several feet back and then crop out the unwanted portion - like I did on the right. Believe me it looks much worse on a real person.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Computers and kazoos

Mike McKinley speaking at the recent MSAE annual conference in St. Paul gave everyone a kazoo and asked them to play Happy Birthday. It was  disaster because many people didn't know which end to blow in or that you needed to hum to make a sound. His message was simple - without some coordination, some training, some communication and some plan, the effort was likely to fail. It struck me that we are in the same position today with mobile devices. They are being distributed in organizations with little thought to how they should be used. People just play with them and waste time and energy trying to find out which end to blow in. This was one of the motivations to start the small group chats I mentioned above.

A two company race

I've mentioned before that the Android Apple battle is really a Samsung Apple conflict because Samsung so dominates the Android field. For what it's worth, here is one comparison between the two behemoths. Apple sells four current mobile devices - iPhone, iPad, iPad mini and iPod Touch - as well as earlier versions of the iPhone and iPad - a grand total of six products. According to the web site, Samsung sells 35 different phones and tablets. And yesterday they announced the fourth variation of their flagship Galaxy S4 phone which just came out last month. This makes Apple seem rather boring since they only release new gadgets once or twice a year. On the other hand it seems like Samsung is rolling out a new product several times a month which makes choosing a Samsung device a daunting process.
This product avalanche promted Android guru JR Raphael to tell Samsung to "please stop the madness" in this article. While I do use an iPhone I am very impressed with the new Samsung Galaxy S4 and imagine in the race for most features the S4 would win hands down. A friend who had just purchased one for several very good reasons only chuckled when I ask about the eye tracking feature that stops a video when you look away.