Tuesday, 26 Jul 2016

Yahoo 1996 - 2016  

Yahoo has announced a $4.7 billion sale to Verizon ending a twenty year roller coaster ride of highs and (mostly) lows. The Wall Street Journal has an interesting timeline highlighting key moments of those twenty years.

Funny to think they rejected a $44.6 billion bid from Microsoft back in 2008, I think Microsoft dodged a bullet.

Tuesday, 28 Jun 2016

The Vikings from Iceland are taking over Euro 2016  

Twenty-seven thousand Icelandic fans, or eight percent of of the country's population of 332,000, are at Euro 2016. This tiny country has captured the attention of every Soccer fan following the Euro 2016 championships, firstly by beating Austria last week 2-1 to make it to the final 16, then just this morning, by beating England 2-1 to make it through to the quarter finals. This video looks at how such a tiny cold country has risen from being ranked number 112 in the world to 23rd in just a few short years.

Also impressive is the fans' perfectly synchronised, Viking-like chant which is said to "terrify" rival fans and players.

UPDATE: While looking at YouTube clips of the fans chanting, I noticed this clip which appears to be recorded at the same moment as the clip linked above but from a fan about a dozen seats across sitting directly in front of the drummer. You can see the drummer and the person filming in the original clip.

Tuesday, 7 Jun 2016

DJ Khaled - Nail Salon  

Apple's latest Apple Music ad features DJ Khaled and Ray Liotta in a nail salon. I don't pay much attention to Apple ads these days but this one I like.
...thousands and thousands and thousands of songs!
Love it.
Monday, 6 Jun 2016

Google Maps & Apple Maps Comparison  

Justin O’Beirne has released Part 1 of a detailed analysis of the differences between Apple Maps and Google Maps. Part 1 goes into detail comparing the differences between the two at various zoom levels looking at differences in road labels, city labels, etc.

I’m a bit of a cartography nerd so enjoyed this a lot, O’Beirne makes some interesting observations. He seems puzzled however by some of the omissions made, such as how few cities are shown at various levels on Google maps.

What a difference! Apple is showing way more cities than Google. It’s not even close. (Here, Apple labels 44 cities, while Google labels just 10.)

I wonder why Google doesn’t label more cities here?

To me the answer is quite simple, Google maps (and perhaps to a lesser extent Apple Maps) is first and foremost a search tool. Most people using it will search for an address and then view that address on the map. The visual presentation at various zoom levels, particularly higher up, is secondary to their needs. They want an address, they type it in and they see it – search speed and visual clarity are top priority, visual detail less so.

Friday, 3 Jun 2016

Star Wars Episode IV in one picture  

Swiss illustrator and graphic novelist, Martin Panchaud, has created an incredibly detailed visual representation of the entire first (episode IV) Star Wars movie.

SWANH.NET is an adaptation of Star Wars Episode IV in a style that was inspired by infographics. One story in one piece of 123 meters length.

It was created with Adobe Illustrator CC in 2016. Its exact measures are:
1024 x 465152 px / 27 x 12307 cm / 10.6 x 4845.3-inch

I first came up with the idea for this project in January 2015 and I started working on it beside my contract works (a selection is featured on MartinPanchaud.ch). All together it took me approximately 1000 hours and I finished it in May 2016.

Make sure you check out his Making Of page as well.

Via kottke.org

Wednesday, 1 Jun 2016

How big is the VR nausea problem?  

Quora contributor, Steve Baker, presents some sobering insights into how much of a problem VR related nausea and disorientation is for the future of VR headsets. He highlights two main issues that cause nausea, lack of focus depth perception and lack of momentum perception. Both of which are very difficult to overcome with current technology.

On focus depth perception:

So we’re continually estimating range using the tensions in two sets of muscles – one for focus, the other for convergence. When the brain gets the right signals, these two mechanisms agree perfectly.

But in a VR display, they don’t agree. The focussing system says “This image is all at the same range” – the convergence system says “This image is at a variety of different ranges”.

And momentum:

When you’re walking along, and suddenly stop, the mass of your body wants to continue to move forwards – and you have to apply muscular force to preventing your arms from swinging forwards and your head from tipping. This momentum has to be absorbed when you’re stopping in a car or even turning a corner.

Those forces are entirely absent in a VR rig…and your brain notices that.

He also highlights the even greater risk of disorientation when returning to the real world and performing tasks that rely on our natural senses to determine distance and speed such as driving a car or riding a bike. Its a serious enough issue that the US Navy recommends up to 24 hours break after using VR before driving a vehicle.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Android's lack of direction is helping Apple  

Apple Insider has a detailed analysis of Google I/O 2016 and the lack of focus currently affecting the Android platform.

Rather than focusing on the incremental innovation needed to win back the attention of enterprise users and premium consumers, Google’s vision for Android this year has again leapt in new directions which appear even less attainable. Android’s scattered, imitative strategies du jour are resulting in a platform that looks a lot like Apple’s–albeit the very unsuccessful Apple of the mid 90s.

Although the article does lean heavily in Apple’s favour and could be dismissed as pure fanboism, it does make some good points. To me it hoighlights how the race between Apple and Google to control the mobile space is almost tortoise and hare-like in its progress.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Cheap Super Zoom Cameras  

The latest sub $1000 superzoom cameras are impressive. The video below is from a Canon Powershot SX50 SH with a optical zoom of 50x and digital zoom of 4x giving a total zoom capability of 200x.
Another contender for most powerful non-SLR zoom is the Nikon P900 which has a combined zoom of 332x. See the video below.

Racing Quadcopters  

I've been busy the last few months building a mini racing quadcopter. While I've only been able to have a couple of test flights so far, I've been keeping myself content watching quadcopter videos on YouTube such as this one.
Though I don't plan to actually race the quad, I'm looking forward to free flying like this and just enjoying the sheer speed of it.
Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Windows Phone market share sinks below 1%  

Microsoft only sold 2.3 million Lumia devices in the latest quarter, a massive 73 percent drop from the 8.6 million in the same period last year. As a result, Microsoft’s revenue from phones declined 46 percent.