Tag Archive: technology

Embarrassing party photos posted on Facebook? Not with this beer cooler / photoblocker

“Ostensibly, the Norte Photoblocker is a functional beer cooler surrounded by four sensors that can detect the flashes from cameras or cell phones. If a flash goes off in the direction of the Photoblocker, it fires its own flash to flood the resulting photos with bright white and obscure anyone nearby.” -Gizmag, Norte Photoblocker keeps your face out of embarrassing club photos

Apparently this actually exists. A South American beer brand called Cerveza Norte has developed a beer cooler/photoblocker device in partnership with Brazil-based ad agency Del Campo Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi. The device keeps a beverage cold and is outfitted with an array of flashbulbs. If the device detects a flash from a camera pointed in its direction, the photoblocker fires its own flash in order to overexpose the picture being taken. Watch the video above (skip to 0:38 to see the device), and it will all be clear. The device has been field-tested in bars in Argentina, and it works as advertised. No word on when the photoblocker will be available for purchase. Fast Company has a little more background.

This isn’t the first such device. A few years ago, NYU grad student Adam Harvey developed an anti-paparazzi clutch purse that operates in a similar way.

(via /.)

World Press Photo releases iPad app of winning images

World Press Photo 2011 available on the iPad.

World Press Photo 2011 available on the iPad.

Hot on the heels of Christopher Anderson’s Capitolio iPad book (Finally got a chance to look through a physical copy at Dashwood Books last week, by the way. Beautiful book.), World Press Photo has released an iPad book of this year’s winning images. It costs $4.99. Right now, the app has the 350 winning images and an interactive map of locations of the pictures, in addition to captions, photographer biographies and camera information (which seems like a weird thing to include). In the coming weeks, the app will be updated to include interviews with photographers about their images. Having finally looked at pictures on an iPad last week while using one in portfolio meetings, I can say I’m a big fan of photography on the device. I’m excited to see more and more serious photography showing up in the App Store at affordable prices.

By the way, if you click through our link to buy the app, we get a (very) little cut of the sale. It’s a way for us to keep the lights on here at dvafoto.

(via Objective Reality Foundation / Фонд Объективная Реальность on twitter)

Entire Connections series now on youtube


I have incredibly fond memories of watching James Burke‘s late-1970s BBC series Connections late at night on PBS during middle school. It’s a strange show, a meandering narrated documentary series about the history of science that draws well-known and obscure connections between major events in the past and present. The show is borne from a connected worldview of technological progress, “that one cannot consider the development of any particular piece of the modern world in isolation. Rather, the entire gestalt of the modern world is the result of a web of interconnected events, each one consisting of a person or group acting for reasons of their own motivations (e.g. profit, curiosity, religious) with no concept of the final, modern result of what either their or their contemporaries’ actions finally led to.”

Now, the whole series is available to watch on youtube. Give each episode some time…they’re slow at first, but by the end of each episode, you’ll never have expected to have arrived where you ended from where you started.

(via kottke)

People Photos = Good (If They’re Real People)

Tracking eyes looking at photos on websites (detail) - useit.com

Tracking eyes looking at photos on websites (detail) - useit.com

Eye tracking has emerged as an important part of measuring audience engagement and user experience on the internet. Devices record where a user’s eyes fall when looking at a website and the data from those experiments guide the future design of the website. Via bloggasm, I came across a look into how users view photos as web content. And while the data is not directly applicable to news websites or journalism, it does confirm what photographers already know: relevant photos of people increase user involvement with content. Interestingly, the findings also show that stock photos of generic people and situations get almost no attention from the user.

Mark Fiore on cell phones, consumer demand, and warlords

Political cartoonist Mark Fiore produces weekly animations for Newsweek. I’m not sure I’ve ever watched any of his cartoons before, but this one, found via Newsweek’s odd Tumblr blog in turn found at the Nieman Lab, is well worth the price of admission. We’ve talked before about the environmental cost of new digital technology, and this cartoon sums up the issues all too well.

Asim Rafiqui on the iPad

“I cringe when I realize the price I must pay and I falter at the doorsteps of magazine editors, stutter during discussions of ‘hot’ and ‘popular’ stories that I think will sell, remain silent about the personally exciting ones that I know will be met with derision, trip over purchasing technical toys that can transport me into the world of the modern digital photographer. People see me as old-fashioned, somehow out of touch and intentionally difficult. But they are wrong. I crave not the trappings of modern possessions, but the possession of modern thoughts and ideas. The latter I can’t reveal on the slide show option of the iPad.” -Asim Rafiqui in “Condemned To Obscurity Or A Personal Perspective On The iPad

Asim Rafiqui has a nice perspective on the hubbub surrounding the media’s adoption of the iPad platform.

Building the future of photography at home: DIY Computational Photography

Futurephotography.com - Large Light Field Camera Array

Futurephotography.com - Large Light Field Camera Array

We’re a ways off from hand-held cameras that can do it, but the future of photography will involve pictures in which the depth-of-field and focus and camera position each can be adjusted reliably and with quality in post-production. It’s a complex mathematical and computational problem, but the power is within reach.

So you want to influence the future of photography? Well, you gotta build a camera, ’cause this future isn’t for sale, yet.” -FuturePicture.com

Futurepicture.com - Demonstration of modifiable depth of field achieved by DIY light field array

Futurepicture.com - Demonstration of modifiable depth of field achieved by DIY light field array

Two enterprising photography enthusiasts have taken a page from MIT‘s and Columbia‘s and Stanford‘s computational photography research labs, and have built their own light field camera arrays, and they’re posting instructions on how to build your own, including a method for achieving the effect with just one camera. Check out much more information and some of the science behind the project at FuturePicture.com.

(via MetaFilter Projects)

Software glitch causes out of focus pictures

Google’s Android phone operating system hopes to become an open-source alternative to the likes of the iPhone and the Blackberry. Android’s rise in popularity hasn’t come without a few hitches. First, early phones ran all text input to the phone’s computer as a superuser. Writing “reboot” alone in a text message, for instance, would reboot the phone. Writing “rm -r” would completely erase everything on the phone.

Now, Engadget reports that users of Android users recently began complaining about not being able to focus the phone’s camera. Then one day, suddenly, everyone was able to focus again. Turns out it’s a date-related software glitch. Every 24.5 days, the phones will switch between being able to focus and not being able to focus. An Android developer confirmed the bug and suggests a patch will be available before Dec. 11, the next date when all of the cameraphones will stop focusing again.

I miss the days when I turned part of my lens to adjust the focus….

What to do with Google Wave?

Sorry my invites to Google Wave got all used up. If I get any more, I’ll share. If you’re as confused as I am about what to do with it, and how it might be better than email or facebook or twitter or whatever internet tool you currently use, take a look at some of these ideas for how Google Wave might be used. People see the potential for improvements in everything from journalism to wedding planning to the creation of new vaccines. Maybe. Maybe not. Early reports are mixed on the technology. I’m still not sure what makes it better than email or facebook. And it won’t be really useful until more people are using it. But, maybe there’s potential. I know in the past I’ve frequently wanted to keep track of communication between a group of 5 or 6 people and have live chats. Maybe Google Wave is the solution I didn’t know I needed..

Insane automated photo compositing tool

While I can’t pretend to know the intricate differences between a jpg and a png, I’ve got an appreciation of the science and mathematics that goes into imaging technology. Every so often a strange new development from MIT’s media lab crosses my radar, as happened a couple weeks ago with Bokode, a barcode hidden and read in out-of-focus areas of a picture which could allow something like physical hyperlinking of data on a webpage to physical objects through photographs made of the image or Nintendo Wii-like interactivity in the classroom or in public areas. Weird stuff with much cool science behind the scenes.

Photosketch, which has since been renamed, is just one such weird academic research project which could radically change the way we interact with photos or, um, decorate our myspace pages. It’s got to be seen to be believed; the video‘s at the top of the post. Basically, you make a couple line drawings with labels, and the software automatically grabs images from the internet and relatively seamlessly creates a new image with all of the specified elements. Sounds crazy. Is crazy.

Here’s a layman’s explanation, but really you should just watch the video. There’s some talk that the whole thing’s a hoax, but the paper announcing the demo came from a couple of researchers associated with related image research and Photosketch was presented at a respected graphics technology symposium. The source code was purportedly available at some point, but it’s disappeared since I first read accounts of the technology. I was hoping to illustrate the post with a picture of me photographing a unicorn in a coral reef while a UFO flew by….

Heather Morton has a roundup of perspectives on the tool.

(first spotted on waxy.org)