Tag Archives: technology

Sites I Have Recently Come to Enjoy

30 Aug
The Savoia

Another cool blog: The Savoia

Here are some websites I’ve discovered via other websites, with excellent shareable content …

I’m a regular consumer of and contributor to Pinterest and StumbleUpon. StumbleUpon’s mission, of course, is to deliver the best of the web based on personal tastes, and I happen to use Pinterest in a way that leads me to other sites with similar content — i.e., compelling visual art and photography.

I’ve arrived at many destinations just by clicking through to the original sources of things I find interesting:

Denis Budkov

Photo by Denis Budkov in an ice cave near the Mutnovsky volcano in an area of northern Russia via The Colossal

The more this happens with the same sites, the more I seek them out specifically. I now frequently rebroadcast content from these portals on my Twitter stream, or mention them here — in addition to simply enjoying what they have to offer.

If you’re a fan of my stuff (chances are that’s the case since you’ve read this far), definitely have a look at these others – you just might find a new favorite.

7 websites with highly tweetable content

What do you think? What are some new-to-you websites you have enjoyed lately? Do you click through images or writing you like to other sources and find interesting destinations? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Apple Knows Music, but Pandora’s Box is Already Open

4 Jun
Pandora Radio

A photo of my Pandora stations. I shot this with Hipstamatic and added ambience with the LensFlare app.

When it comes to streaming music, Pandora just works.

It appears Apple may be unveiling a “Pandora killer” music product in the near future. I, personally am unfazed. I enjoy Apple products, and I’m a loyal and satisfied Pandora customer. I’ve tried Spotify, Rhapsody, Last.fm, Rdio, 8Tracks… and while they all have their advantages, none to me match the basic, straightforward appeal of good ol’ Pandora.

Here’s a quote from a recent Business Insider article on what Apple may have in the works:

We’ve dubbed it iRadio and from what we’ve heard so far, it sounds like it will be very similar to Pandora. For instance, Apple plans to offer it as a free service, supported by ads, and it will let users create their own radio stations based on a favorite song or artist,

Pandora Passé? Meh.

I realize some may consider Pandora passé, but for me it just works, whether on a computer or mobile. I’m glad there are other trending options these days because competition is what drives free market growth, but I was an early adopter of Pandora and am religious about thumbs-upping or -downing tracks to get my stations the way I like them. And if I want to buy a song through iTunes (or Amazon), the link is always right there with the track.

Why on Earth would I put the effort into rebuilding the experience through iTunes or whatever Apple calls it? I also like sharing my tracks with comments on Twitter or Pinterest, and running an rss of what I’ve liked at my blog – I seriously doubt Apple’s “walled garden” would allow such flexibility. But hey, I’d love to be proven wrong.

Oh, and does anyone miss Ping? Didn’t think so.

What do you think? Would you be interested in a streaming music product from Apple? Are you a user of Pandora or any other streaming products? What do you like about them and why? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Mixtapes were great. Cassettes? Not so much.

26 May
Grandpa Cassette

Grandpa Cassette” by Zack Finfrock aka Splashed Ink, Los Angeles, CA. Available at Threadless.com

Have you ever toiled at a crappy job only to reminisce years later and think, “you know, that was a pretty fun time?” Our brains have a cognitive bias toward hanging on to the positive and letting go of the negative. And that’s what I believe has been happening with the ever-growing number of modern references to cassette tapes.

Amid all the nostalgia I see these days for mix tapes or the cassette format in general, I’m decidedly glad do be done with tapes now and forever. I do not miss the “good old days” of how music used to be consumed. Here’s why:

Tapes sucked.

There’s no denying the absolute fact that cassette tape quality was capricious at best, and crappy at its core. Even the concept of the “best sounding tape” sounds like an oxymoron. Is it live or is it Memorex? Are you kidding me? It’s definitely Memorex.

Peter Murphy of Bauhaus in a UK Memorex cassette commercial

The chief redeeming quality about cassettes was that they were very easy to copy, so that made sharing and compiling music very straightforward. Mixtapes were something I enjoyed in a sublimated sort of way, since their inherent transience belied their crappy quality. Because, of course, the price for the whole endeavor was progressively eroding quality through generations of copies. But hey – it was still cheaper than actually purchasing new music. And even that never quite felt right – spending good money to hear music in cassette form? It’s like part of the deal was that you understood you were getting ripped off.

Dig the irony of the company who came to dominate mp3 players getting its start thanks to cassettes. Image by Ethan Hein via Flickr.

Dig the irony of the company who came to dominate mp3 players getting its start thanks to cassettes. Image by Ethan Hein via Flickr.

CDs were a welcome end to all this, but even then, record stores and record companies grossly inflated the prices. Why? Because tapes sucked so badly that consumers were willing to pay a premium for everlasting quality. I see CDs as a bleak transition period, followed finally by the now-developed world of mp3s, bringing us to where we are today. I did away with all my CDs in 2002, going full-on digital from that day forward and have never looked back – I even had a Rio before an iPod. And while they do have some memory-biased charm, and despite my years of close interaction with them, I am happy to leave cassettes in the past.

What do you think? Did you ever spend a lot of time with cassettes? Do you have fond memories of doing so? When is the last time you touched a cassette? Have you gone completely to digital music? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Link Instagram and Pinterest with Flickr

9 May
Flickr to Facebook: I'll see your Instagram and raise you a Pinterest

Flickr to Facebook: I’ll see your Instagram and raise you a Pinterest. Photo by Courtney Patubo / edit by rsmithing. Click for full size.

Flickr to Facebook: I’ll see your Instagram and raise you a Pinterest

Hot on the heels of my post on using Pinterest for Instagram images with sites like Gramfeed, Flickr has made this even easier by including Pinterest as an option under the “Share” menu at the top left of any Flickr image. And the best part is, all photos are automatically attributed to the owner – including all photos ever previously pinned from Flickr!

Pinterest for Flickr

This is HUGE, because not only does it mean easy and proper posting from a site with millions of great images, but also it makes posting from Instagram easy as well, since Instagram users can easily link their accounts to post to Flickr when uploading at Instagram.

I personally only started using Flickr seriously as a result of Instagram’s integration, and I now swear by it as a great tool for managing your images with some neat social functionality thrown in. It’s highly customizable, easy to use, and a great value whether you subscribe for free or have a Pro account.

Just two steps gets any Flickr image on your Pinterest board. Click for full details at Flickr’s blog.

Bottom Line: Flickr Gets It Right… First

Maybe they were too busy being bought by Facebook to notice, but the folks at Instagram missed out on being the first major image sharing site to hook up so seamlessly with Pinterest. I’m fairly sure that day is coming, since Instagram already integrates with Twitter, Tumblr, Posterous, Foursquare, and of course, Flickr, but given the competitiveness in Silicon Valley these days, it’s not a given.

Pinterest’s growth is impossible to ignore, and Flickr did the right thing by integrating easily with the site. Rather than interfere with its own goals, this makes an already great platform like Flickr even better.

I don’t work for Flickr, but if you haven’t checked it out – and especially if you want to pin your Instagram images like a boss – definitely give Flickr a look… even if only to find cool images for your Pinterest Boards.

Impress your friends: share this on Twitter!

What do you think? Do you use Flickr in conjunction with Instagram? Do you use Pinterest and have you pinned Flickr images there? What has that been like? Will you be trying this now that Flickr makes it easy to share images originating on Instagram? Let us hear from you in the comments!

A Snapshot in Time: the Kodak Disc Camera

19 Jan
Kodak 4000 Disc Camera by Capt. Kodak

Kodak 4000 Disc Camera by Capt. Kodak

On hearing of Kodak’s bankruptcy recently, I’m nostalgic, as I’m sure many of us are. I easily remember the excitement of discovering photography for the first time as a child and seeing the Kodak logo everywhere, from film, to cameras, to the envelopes my prints were mailed back to me in (remember “sending off” or “dropping off” your film?). This is best summarized for me now by remembering Kodak’s Disc camera.

What’s a Kodak Disc?

For their time, the Kodak Disc cameras were very innovative. It could easily slide in your pocket, came with a built-in flash, and even the film was compact. Sure the picture quality wasn’t great, but for the ease of use and relative affordability, it was a decent experience. Snapshots of life as a kid for me came through the lens of this camera, and I’m intrigued by the parallels of our gadget-obsessed consumer society. I still have prints from my Disc camera, and as I record HD video with my phone today, I wonder what 20 years from now will make us regard even this activity as primitive.

Says Capt. Kodak:

Manufactured from 1982 to 1989 by Eastman Kodak Co. When introduced, they made a big splash—in less than 10 years, they were gone. They featured a 15 exposure flat “disc” of film using new film technology to get acceptable images from it 8x10mm negative size. Some of this film technology was later introduced into the 35mm line of films making them even sharper and producing better images on a bigger negative. Ironically, that improvement and Kodak’s own introduction of inexpensive 35mm cameras may have led to the Disc camera’s demise.

iPhone Ancestor?

iPhone Ancestry

iPhone decal, Disc style

Back when I rocked the iPhone 4 bumper, my swag was enhanced by this awesome Kodak Disc iPhone skin. The symbolic convergence of technology and art through photography on so many levels with this simple decal is so poignant to me. Though no longer available from this manufacturer (another similarity with the actual camera), I truly appreciate how this is a tribute to digital ancestry in consumer electronics and photography. Like the gadget that inspired it, this decal goes along with you in your pocket, attached to your camera that also makes phone calls, sends SMS messages, surfs the Internet, is your GPS, Yellow Pages, day planner, entertainment hub… um, while fun, the Disc didn’t do all that.

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Sure, I love my iPhone and applications like Hipstamatic for their high-quality and instant gratification. Yet it’s so interesting to me how nostalgia in the form of apps like Hipstamatic or digital photo booths is enjoying popularity now. And the Disc’s portability and ease of use can’t help but come to mind these days when I’m whipping out the iPhone for some snapshots with a retro-camera app.

I also love the ease and fun of social networks like Instagram and management tools like Flickr for making sharing our snapshots so easy and ubiquitous. In fact, I fully credit Instagram for reigniting my own interest in photography these days — which happen to be directly traceable to the days when I was posing my Star Wars action figures for some action shots with my trusty Kodak Disc.

What do you think? Are you sad to see Kodak’s demise? Did you or anyone you know ever work for Kodak? Do you use any Kodak products today (paper, digital, etc.) What lessons are there to be gained by the fall of a once-great innovating company? Let us hear from you in the comments!

Photo Credit: Kodak 4000 Disc Camera, by Capt. Kodak

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