Predicting a Robust Sunset

If you consider yourself a professional photographer, or you just enjoy a nice morning or evening walk there is a website called SunsetWX that can predict how beautiful the next sunrise or sunset will be. 

The founder loves meteorology and photography and found a way to combine those interests through SCIENCE!

They also have a Twitter account to follow to get an up-to-date sunrise/sunset forecast in your Twitter feed.

Weather Geek Apps

I am a weather geek and as a weather geek I’ve compiled a few of my favorite sites just for you to get accurate weather updates. What I’m about to provide you will be better than weather.com or the default weather app on your mobile device.

  • Weather Underground – This is my go to site. Weather Underground1 collects data from thousands of personal weather stations, and provides a ton of data at a glance. Their WunderMap feature can show storms, temps and more. Their mobile apps are also very great.
Weather Underground shows a lot of information at a glance.
Weather Underground shows a lot of information at a glance.
  • Dark Sky – My second go to, Dark Sky started out as a mobile app for iOS focusing on down to the minute predictions for precipitation. It was fairly reliable. After that they created a very cool site called forecast.io which incorporated the accurate precipitation predictions along with forecast data, and climate history with the time machine. Now they’ve updated all that with beautiful design and maps.
Fantastic looking forecasts with even better maps.
Fantastic looking forecasts with even better maps.
  • Ventusky– A map based web app that shows all kinds of weather data present and historical on a map.
Ventusky Displays really cool maps, but it will use your computers resources.
Ventusky Displays really cool maps, but it will use your computers resources.
  • WeatherSpark – WeatherSpark can provide all kinds of historical climate data for an area that can be used for predicting if it will be rainy, windy, or more for any time of year.
WeatherSpark has several visual graphs for all kinds of historical climate data.
WeatherSpark has several visual graphs for all kinds of historical climate data.

  1. Weather Underground has been around since the 90s. They were bought out by the Weather Channel, which was in turn purchased by IBM for all of their data collection. 

Retrofication 

Retro is in and nostalgia is a powerful drug. I love certain retro designs and art, whether it be the “future” fonts of the 1970s or 8-Bit graphics. Limitations in past technology produced qualities or artifacts that could be considered inferior – like pixel art in computer graphics or light leaks in photography. Should these imperfections be preserved and used as a form of expression or will they die over time?

#nofilter

Instagram brought the flaws and quirks of analog photography to the smartphone era. It got overused and ushered in a ton of other filter apps. I love Hipstamatic. I like the aesthetic quality of old cameras. Some people don’t even know that some of these filters have origins in old personal cameras of 60s, 70s, and 80s. Minecraft uses pixel textures for everything. Those qualities then in turn have an entirely new origin in style.

je ne sais quoi [1]

Is there a name for these imperfections? We use retronyms to distinguish older technology from new. You could use retro, or lo-fi I suppose. I think there needs to be a term for these effects. You see them becoming more prevalent in film or TV. The VHS type haze used in the film Kung Fury is an example. And now when you look at a movie like Alien that takes place in the far future, the computers look like they’re from the 70s – because they were.

Computers from the film Alien
Computers from the film Alien

What I’m trying to define is a term for when a movie debuts in 2016, and then uses computers from the 70s for some type of artistic reason, whether it be a period film or not.

There’s an app for that

It’s ironic that we are using computers to emulate older technology. Some of my favorite examples of these types of conversions are:

  • Hipstamatic emulates old cameras and films, but puts a modern twist on them.
  • Restrospecs emulates old gaming systems and color palettes. Even the 1-Bit glory of the Game Boy Camera.
  • Playscii is an ASCII art editor. It’s when graphics were made of text. It also applies a CRT haze.

    Playscii is a ASCII art editor.
    Playscii is a ASCII art editor.
  • Glitché is an app that applies deconstructive effects that look like glitches or errors.
  • Decim8 is similar to Glitché and it allows you to completely decimate photos with intentional glitches.

    Glitched Jared from Decim8
    Glitched Jared from Decim8

What’s higher than hi-def?

As our technology improves, and we move from 1080p to 4K, megapixels to gigapixels, and so on, will we try to emulate the technology limitations of today for the same effect? Cursive is on its way out the door. I theorize there will always be an affinity for such stylings, but for how long?

Music is still released on Vinyl for the warm sound of a technically inferior technology. Several indie video games are made in the style of 8-bit or 16-bit gaming systems. Is this a passing fad? Will we look longingly for the sound of an mp3, or PS4 game in the future? I honestly don’t know.


  1. I love this term. It can be used often for life.  ↩

Six Months of Cameraphone

I realized the other day that I hadn’t posted any non cameraphone photos since October, and truth be told, I haven’t taken many. I don’t know why. But it’s inexcusable , and I owe it to myself to take more. I believe that will change shortly this weekend.

I love my iPhone, and I really love Hipstamatic. And I know that those apps that make your photos look… hipster-ish (even though that’s not what the “Hipsta” stands for in Hipstamatic). But even though the iPhone takes better photos than most cameraphones, it’s still pretty crappy, so applying an analog (digital) filter helps compensate for its inadequacies with an unpredictable touch. At least that’s how I look at it, and I like experimenting with it. But it’s time to move on to Summer, and some awesome pics.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

 

My Thoughts on the iPad

The iPad Arriveth

The iPad Arriveth

Ah yes. The iPad has come. I seriously thought the internet was going to crash just covering it’s announcement and release. So what is it? A tablet computer, a giant iPod touch, or a plate to make fresh salsa? A little of all those really.

When it was originally theorized that Apple was making a tablet computer , most mockups showed a tablet computer running the Mac OS X. In January when it was finally announced, and that it would be running the iPhone OS, and the reception was chaotic at best. Why would they release a giant iPhone? Doesn’t Apple know that people want to run Photoshop on a touch interface? I want to word process on it too!

Hype soon took over regarding how this was the future. This was computing going forward. I think that statement can be misleading. We aren’t going to abandon the keyboard and mouse anytime soon. Not when we’re working. But we will when we are consuming. The internet has so much media… and we must consume it all! This is the gap the iPad fills.

Surprisingly, a good number of people who have laptops uses them most of the time just to surf the web. Why do that on something that only has 2 hours of battery, a full keyboard, and a crappy trackpad (unless you’re on a MacBook). You could have 10 hours of battery life, something easy to hold, and very small and portable.

It’s a media consumption device at it’s best. You aren’t going to use this to write articles (even though Apple is bring iWork to it) , you aren’t going to do massive photo editing with it,  and it certainly won’t replace pen and paper.

Final thought. I got to play with one… it’s fast, nice to read on, and wonderful to hold. If you have a desktop computer, and want a laptop… mostly for browsing… get an iPad. Will this changes things? Yes. This is the newspaper/magazine of the future… and it’s here now!

Image Credits:
Armed And Dangerous qwghlm via Flickr
Sky Light Peter Kaminski via Flickr

iPhone = Connected

I love my iPhone. It has really been the best decision I’ve made in a while. I haven’t been able to be at home as often, and thus, felt like I was drifting away from the interwebs. Well no longer.

iPhone

With my iPhone, I am able to sync my contacts to my Gmail Contacts, and sync my calendar to Google Calendar over the air. The iPhone doesn’t support this functionality natively unfortunately. I use a service called NuevaSync which has been pretty reliable and totally free. When I make an update to a contact on my phone, it’s instantly in my Gmail Contacts both for accessibility and for backup. Same for Google Calendar.

I use Gmail through the iPhone mail app using IMAP. It works flawlessly, and the email application on the iPhone is so integrated with everything else.

The Google Reader webapp is very nice is almost like using it from my PC. It’s easier to keep up with 100+ blogs daily.  It’s nice because anything I read on it marks read on Google Reader, and with Safari I’m never limited in my browsing experience. I have yet to see a mobile browser as awesome as Safari on the iPhone. I tried a Samsung Instinct once for internet. It was horrible.

Twitterfon for the iPhone is well programmed too and is my preferred way of reading tweets, next to Twitterfox. Both are programmed by the same guy, which I just found out recently.

Text messaging and just the plain ole phone are even better on the iPhone in my opinion. I love the conversation view for texts.

I also have Remember The Milk for my iPhone which helps remember what I need to do. It doesn’t matter if I don’t do it, I still know what I need to do.

I could go on and on, but I’ll save that for another post. So, have you thought about an iPhone? What do you like or not like about it? (besides cost, and carrier). I’m interested to find out.