Monthly Archives: January 2016

Computer vision demo: What can your phone see?

Helping the blind see? Sounds amazing, though we’re in awkwardly early days:

However, in turn, BlindTool can be wrong. A lot. Walking around my apartment, it called my Christmas tree a feather boa, an ornament a bubble, a door an armoire. Sometimes the results were close, sometimes they were absurdly off. And that’s because the neural net was trained on what Cohen calls an “almost randomly chosen” collection of images—a hodgepodge of opensource work that’s not necessarily catered to the things you or any person would most commonly want identified in their home, commute, or place of work.


How to: Moving your Flickr images into Google Photos

I’ve enjoyed Flickr for 10+ years & plan to keep doing so. A friend recently asked me how I’d gotten my images from Flickr into Google Photos, so I jotted down the simple process:

  1. Download & launch the Google Photos desktop uploader.
  2. Go to the Flickr Camera Roll & sort by date taken.
  3. Select the first image.
  4. Scroll to the bottom, or click the first date listed at left, then shift-click the last image.
  5. Click “Download” at bottom.
  6. Open the resulting ZIP file(s) and drag image folder(s) to your desktop.
  7. Netflix & chill. 🙂 (optional)

Adobe photography lecture today at 4pm Pacific

This talk from MIT’s Michael Hawley sounds interesting. You’ll be able to watch it live & ask questions here, or listen by calling (855) 870-5454 & using meeting ID 1005302015.

This talk is more history than future—more about picture hacking from the last 150 years than the last 15 or the next 100. But if you’re at all interested in photography and its futures, I can guarantee you will find something fun, interesting and new from the past.

Bio: Michael Hawley is an educator, artist, and researcher active in many facets of digital media. His research career includes pioneering work at Bell Labs in Murray Hill (computer systems), IRCAM in Paris (computer music), Lucasfilm in San Rafael (digital cinema), nearly two decades at MIT in Cambridge (at the Media Lab and Lab for Computer Science). He directs the EG conference (, has been active as founder/advisor to numerous startup companies, and as an amateur pianist, won the Van Cliburn competition in 2002. Pertinent to this talk, he also served on the Board of Directors of Eastman Kodak during their demise (!); and as a researcher with interests in photography, invented GPS photography and produced the world’s largest published book (5×7′, 150lbs, on BHUTAN).

What is wabi-sabi?

There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in
— Leonard Cohen

Despite having heard the term, I didn’t know much about wabi-sabi until watching this short, nicely produced explanation.

At the heart of Japanese philosophy and wisdom lies a concept called ‘wabi-sabi’; a term which denotes a commitment to the everyday, the melancholic, the somewhat broken and the imperfect. It’s a term we need a lot more of in our lives. 

Leonard Koren writes, in Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers:

1. All things are impermanent.
2. All things are imperfect.
3. All things are incomplete.

Blessed are the cracked
For they shall let in the light.
— Groucho Marx

[YouTube] [Via]

The NYT reviews the laptop market… in 1985

These “gas-plasma displays” sound kinda rad!

“But the real future of the laptop computer will remain in the specialized niche markets. Because no matter how inexpensive the machines become, and no matter how sophisticated their software, I still can’t imagine the average user taking one along when going fishing…

Good stuff. The first portable Mac (all 16lbs. & $7,500 of it) was still four years in the future. Some 17 years after that, the iPhone arrived. Pretty sure people take them fishing. [Via Ross Hobbie]