Archives for posts with tag: Technology

My Mum was taking care of my son, ‘The Pok’, at home yesterday as he was sick and I was unable to take the day off work. Mum enjoys spending time with him and showing him things on YouTube sometimes. As she recounted the story of one video it prompted me to write this post. In the 30+ years since I was a child the changes in technology have been astronomical. Things that were cutting edge are now obsolete and for ‘The Pok’ and ‘Kiki’ they will only see this stuff being done in a museum.

1 – Winding an Audio Cassette Tape

This was what prompted the post. When ‘The Pok’ saw the video he was totally confused. He did not even know what he was looking at, and more importantly why the person had a pen stuck inside the hole of one of the reels. The two of them will never know about waiting up late at night to record the radio when your favourite songs were being played (and cursing when some silly DJ would voice over the intro of the song). Nor will they ever know how important someone with a dual cassette deck player was – the beginnings of media piracy.

Casette_Tape_pen_wind

2 – Use a Sony Walkman

My generation was the first to truly experience personal and mobile audio – via a Sony Walkman. Yes it was a machine that played audio cassette tapes, but it was also a personal machine that allowed me to escape in my own personal world of music. So when my parents were playing some daft music on the car radio as we drove on long car trips, I could listen to my own personal playlist. The Walkman came in all sorts of models, with a multitude of buttons appearing on the more expensive models. You were a lucky kid if yours was a Walkman Sport with radio, and MEGABASS. My favourite model was the first I ever received – and it was quite a basic model, with two advantages being ultra compact and light. It wasn’t fancy, just black and small but I loved it. Apple has a lot to thank Sony for, particularly for not taking their technology to the digital hard drive phase. The evolution of the Walkman was cassette, compact disc, and then mini-disc (which was great technology, but ultimately short lived). Some elements of this technology have lived on though, just have a look at the plethora of headphones that you can purchase for absurd prices.

SONY_WALKMAN_WM-501

3 – Need to look up a paper TV guide

I still can’t believe this, that to find out what was on the five television channels you had to buy either the newspaper or a special magazine like TV Week in Australia. By the time my kids are all grown up, media will be on-demand and you will interrogate any number of devices to tell you what is available. You probably won’t even type in what you are searching for, as the voice recognition software is already mature enough for the big electronic companies to be embedding it in everything – ‘ask Google’?

TV_Week_Magazine

BTW – Kate Jackson was my favourite Angel, not Farah Fawcett. And I thought the 6 Million Dollar Man was a legend. I can’t remember a single episode of Starsky and Hutch but I do remember the car.

4 – “Tape” a TV show

VHS players and tapes exploded during my teenage years. This was a pivotal point in media technology, and so much so that when I speak to my wife about recording a show from cable TV I often say that I am going to tape it. My kids will never “Tape” anything. Tapes are pretty much a thing of the past, and in most respects this is brilliant. I can remember what would happen when the VHS player went on the blink and would develop and appetite for said tape. Or when one of your brothers taped over something you recorded to watch later, with the ensuing sibling conflict. Hard drives will soon be replaced in their entirety by solid state media, and no doubt that by the time my two reach adulthood that a new technology will be used to store their favourite media.

VHS_Player_Tape

5 – Wait till a scheduled time to watch a show

Other than live sport and new TV shows or films, the concept of watching media to a schedule is almost obsolete. The same could be said with radio, where streaming and subscription services cater for what you want when you want it. Not only is on-demand now the way it will work, but the predictive software that analyses you audio and visual tastes will be able to prompt you to listen to other similar music or shows. With all of this, the only thing holding up the business models of the past is archaic and corrupt legislation – where lobbyists cajole politicians to favour their outdated media empires. Anyone for Netflix or Tidal?

Music_Streaming-Tidal

Writing this post made me thing of a plethora of other things in this field. I think there may be a second post of things that my kids will never know.

Last week I was catching up on a few articles on Digital Photography Review (www.dpreview.com), and one article that piqued my interest was this one ‘Roundup: 11 Cool Photography-related Kickstarter Projects’ (http://www.dpreview.com/news/2012/10/19/110-cool-photography-related-kickstarter-projects). There were some cool proposals, and one or two of them might make it on my wish list but the thing that surprised me was the number of photography related gadgets that were proposed related to shooting photos on mobile phones. Pretty much all of them were focussed on the iPhone, which should be no surprise given that as a single device it probably has the greatest market share (versus the fragmented number of Android offerings). Even This is different from the fact that for the OS share of the market Android is definitely king in the smart phone space. But I digress. This irked me a little, because I felt like all this mobile phone photography focus was taking eyes off the prize – how do we make “proper” photography even better.

Now don’t get me wrong, I shoot mobile photos. My weapons of light are my digital SLR, my digital point and shoot, and (as a last resort) my mobile phone camera. But the last one I really don’t like. I asked a fellow amateur photographer friend of mine, who is currently in the closing stages of a photo a day for a year, whether he ever takes a mobile phone photo as his entry. He emphatically answered no! His showed me his weapons of light, which he carries with him daily, being his digital SLR or his top end digital point and shoot. And sometimes he carries both. For him, quality is everything.

So what do I think are the strengths of using a mobile phone camera. We both agreed that the ability to document at any time what was happening was a big strength. You know, pull out the phone and docu-shoot what is happening now. The ability to share the photo instantly on any social networking site, upload to the cloud, or even post to my blog was a big bonus as well. It is the one device that you have on you all the time, regardless of where you are. And the plethora of photo software options that you can install through either Google Play store or iTunes is incredible. But in my opinion there are too many detracting points around my phone camera for it to be a serious:

  1. pocket fluff is always on the glass (lens)
  2. the sensor size is pretty small so regardless of the quality of the glass the picture quality is average at best
  3. proper zoom is just… absent
  4. exposure capabilities are just poor
  5. low light shooting sucks, wit the flash being a bit mickey mouse
  6. the form factor of these “cameras” is just bad.

This list in itself would encourage me to relegate the mobile phone camera to the scrap, but it is probably the most common weapon of light I use to shoot at the Pok – and of course he hams it up for the camera too. Quickly followed by “show me Daddy!”

I trawled my phone gallery to see if there were any photos that I would be proud to post on Flickr, and of the close to 1,000 snaps I have captured in the last few years I was struggling to pick 10. 10 snaps that stood out by themselves as ones that could compete with what I can capture on a dedicated camera. But I think that these ones are cool. I would be keen to see what other people think, and if they have other “phone” snaps that, without photoshopping, they would be happy to blow up and hang on a wall in their house.

Winter sunrise over the CityReal Life Comic LuggageFiery Sunset SilhouetteStar Spangled Banner in LightsTerritorial DogGull on WatchNeon Tree under the OverpassLeaning Glass WallsSandstone SentinelI guess for me, like my photography mate, I am adding to the wish list a top-end point and shoot that I am going to carry around with me EVERYWHERE. Add maybe an eye-fi card to have some wireless capability. And hopefully up my game by shooting more often – maybe even daily. Me thinks the Canon Powershot G15 is my target addition to the light arsenal.

Next clue on my site header photo – the building has appeared in a James Bond film.

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