Archive for September, 2007

Amazon Packaging is Nuts

I but a lot of stuff from Amazon – seriously, a lot. Love the place, they sell pretty much everything and it’s cheap. With Amazon Prime I get super fast shipping for very little cost, and I’ve never had a bad customer service experience with them.

Enough of the advertising! They do have a weakness, and it’s their packaging. Read more on Amazon Packaging is Nuts…

Tivo Series 3 Gets Un-gimped (at last!)

( Gadgets )

So the Tivo Series 3 (and the new, cheaper TivoHD) are awesome. The only problem is that there are some great features which are present on the older Series 2, but not on the newer machines. These features include things like Multi-Room Viewing (watch a recorded show on a different Tivo than the one which recorded it), Tivo-To-Go (download a recorded show to a computer/portable device) and the ability to stream your own video content to the Tivo.

Read more on Tivo Series 3 Gets Un-gimped (at last!)…

iPhone: Two Months On

( Gadgets )

So as promised, here are some random thoughts on the iPhone now I’ve been using it for a couple of months.

First, the good stuff:

  • The interface is awesome. It looks great, of course, but it also works amazingly well. The response is usually very snappy, and the animation is smooth as silk. That’s not unusual for high end applications on full-sized computers, but it’s completely unheard of on a handheld device. I know a lot of people think the iPod interface is pretty snazzy (I’m not one of them!) but this thing blows it out of the water. The closest I can think of is the PSP’s menu system, but even that doesn’t really come close. All the little graphical flourishes add so much to the overall experience – delete an item and watch it get sucked off the screen, attach a photo to an email and watch the image shrink while the blank message comes up from behind it – it’s all 3D and feels like a flash demo rather than a real product. iPhone makes even the latest version of Windows Mobile, Symbian or Palm look like Windows 3.11.

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Seam Carving

( Gadgets )

I just watched a short presentation (quicktime video) about a new technique for image resizing called “Seam Carving”. Typically images are shrunk either by simply scaling – which can make them hard to see or understand; or by cropping – which causes a loss of content, and even meaning in some cases. This new technique is essentially a very smart crop, which figures out which parts of an image are less important and removes those first. The end result is amazing to watch, the software seems to magically recompose the important parts of the image (people, buildings, etc) into a smaller space without visible distortion. Very cool stuff.

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